Heretical Thoughts.

Via Doug Belshaw and del.icio.us/popular I read this fascinating article about British youth. It does not make for cheery reading. There's one aspect I'd like to pick up on:
On the whole, British children were more disconnected from their families, with nearly half of 15-year-old boys spending most nights out with friends, compared to just 17 percent of their French counterparts.

Our kids are also spending more and more time on computers talking to each other rather than with their parents. In the light of this statistic, would it be heretical of me to suggest that this is not such a great thing? I know that Bebo sometimes looks to me like a virtual Lord of the Flies.

As a society we lose the plot when we lose sight of the simplicity of our needs. In order to flourish, children need a secure, loving home environment and the time and attention of adults that care about them. These needs may not be sufficient, but they are certainly necessary. Web 2.0 does not provide anything that children need.

A child born today could reach the age of 18 without ever touching a computer or seeing a TV, and go on to lead a happy, successful life. Kids need the time and involvement of their parents, not the technological artifacts we have bought whilst working longer and longer hours away from them.

If children are already getting what they need, then these virtual adventures are great, but it appears that many of them are not. And in that case time spent online is just so much more lost opportunity to engage in the nurturing face to face interaction with adults that they so desperately need.

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