A few weeks ago I read an entry in Ben Goldacre’s excellent blog, decrying Baroness Susan Greenfield’s perfect storm of scientific credibility, media training and glamour, that makes her every utterance fodder for mass media scare stories.
This particular two-day hurricane concerned how the internet is not only responsible for childhood obesity, but could actually cause a change in our evolutionary progress as our brains develop differently (in a bad way).
As Mr Goldacre’s witty t-shirts attest “I think you’ll find it’s more complicated than that”.
I want my kids to love playing outside, as I did, riding bikes and inventing competitions, adventure and excitement. I want them to learn how to get along with other people, by actually getting along with other people. I want them to nurture and expand their own imagination and physical capabilities by getting outside and doing stuff. But that doesn’t mean the internet is rubbish.
Baroness Greefield (or at least the media purporting to speak in her name) attest that kids who climb and fall out a tree will learn not to make the same mistake, but that if they ‘die’ in a console game, they just start again and keep playing… This is such a weak argument it invalidates pretty much everything else. Most video games are a learning experience. They reward the ‘best’ strategies and techniques. Players learn how to win, or else they keep losing. Like climbing a tree badly.
More importantly, the interweb is a non-negotiable skill for my daughters. Moreover, it’s a wonderful gift that my generation never had. I’m sure my parents and grandparents were equally concerned about kids becoming ‘goggle-eyed’ from hours watching TV (“we had to make our own fun in my day…”). Best of all, it gives children and adults access to express their creativity in countless ways, unimaginable even 10 years ago. We can experience other people’s ideas, copy them (that’s a whole other post…), and be inspired to make our own.
Some stuff I can only aspire to in terms of ability and ambition, but I can definitely admire and share with my children, hopefully to inspire and excite them as to what is possible. If you have any particular favourites, please add links here – I’ll be eternally grateful.
First, the beautiful and simple InBFlat: mix your own ambient chill-out soundtrack…
An oldie, but still wonderful: Kutiman mixes YouTube…
Too much time on their hands possibly, but tremendous nonetheless.