Digital education instead of living in reality: do media make stupid?


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Text comes from: Die Lüge der digitalen Bildung: Warum unsere Kinder das Lernen verlernen (2015) from Prof. Dr. Gerald Lembke, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Children have to play, so they learn and develop. Digital media are undermining this development. What can parents do better? Digital education instead of living in reality: do media make stupid? child-tv


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Here writes for you:

Prof. Dr. Gerald Lembke Prof. Gerald LembkeProf. Gerald Lembke is a course director for digital media at the Baden-Württemberg University of Cooperative Education (DHBW) Mannheim and President of the Federal Association for Media and Marketing e. V.

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Why play is important for children

The American pediatricians of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state:

“› Unstructured gaming ‹is important to develop problem solving skills. It also promotes children's creativity. The unstructured game is more valuable to brain development than any form of using electronic media ”

Constant irrigation through destructive media

On the other hand, what applies to background irrigation unfolds its destructive effect a fortiori, when infants directly consume electronic media: according to the AAP, under-two-year-olds per working hour per TV hour lose nine percent of their time to engage in "unstructured games" ,

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At the weekend it is even eleven percent. Therefore, the pediatricians make very pragmatic suggestions: For example, the youngsters should put cups into one another on the kitchen floor when parents prepare a meal. This is already a "useful time to play" instead of just sitting in front of the telly.

Gamification instead of Glotze

It is not necessary that the adults always actively deal with the children. The main thing is that they can play in their parents' environment. Even though children are only four months old, "playing alone" gives them the opportunity to "think creatively, solve problems and accomplish tasks without parents intervening."

In addition, parents should not disregard: Under two-year-old have short-term significant deficits in language development when they watch many videos or programs on television. The consequences for under-year-olds, who watch a lot of television on their own, are also dramatic. For them, there is a significantly higher likelihood of delayed language development. "Even if the long-term effects are unknown, the short-term effects give cause for concern," said the paediatricians.

Telly interferes with language development and sleep behavior: away with the TV

The AAP raises another interesting point for discussion: sleep behavior. In America, 19 percent of parents think it makes sense to put a TV in the bedroom of their one-year-old children. 29 percent of children between the ages of two and three have their own TV. And 30 percent of parents report that television helps children fall asleep. Pediatricians counter these surprising numbers:

"Although parents see television as a comforting sleep aid, some shows have negative consequences: children are more resistant to going to bed, the time to fall asleep is delayed, fears of falling asleep, and the duration of sleep is reduced."

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Do media silly?

Especially in children under three years of age, television's sleep pattern gets confused, which has a negative impact on mood, behavior and ability to learn. The pediatricians say that more research needs to be done on this issue, but there are already “sufficient reasons for concern”. And the AAP comes to an epistemological problem in its conclusions, which the organization does not hide: The data only show a correlation between development deficits and media consumption.

Did you know that two-year-olds on screens do not understand anything? But this does not prove a causal relationship, for example, according to the simple motto "Television makes you stupid!". "Are children with language problems more often in front of the TV set?" Ask the paediatricians. Or: "Do children with attention deficit feel more attracted to the screen?"

Child justice or not is not important

These questions would make it necessary to conduct further research intensively. One aspect is particularly striking in the AAP recommendations: the question of a child-friendly television program takes a back seat; doctors do not primarily discuss which TV content is suitable for young children. Their criticism starts much more fundamentally because they consider “any form of use of electronic media” to be questionable - especially among those under two years old.

This is a clear statement that would probably not be signed by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB): under the heading "Watching TV for babies?", It picks up on the discussion about the Teletubbies program that was broadcast a few years ago for two-year-olds in public. legal children's channel KIKA ran.

The effect of education is underestimated

According to the BpB, the program wants to “impart initial cognitive skills”, it is about “perceiving, thinking and speaking” of the young target group. The BpB states:

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"From the fears of many parents can be seen that the effect of television is usually overestimated and its own educational influence is often underestimated."

The BpB accepts as a possible position the demand "Babies don't belong in front of the telly!". But: If you have a positive attitude towards television, "you will certainly have less difficulty getting involved with the Teletubbies." There is also the tip to be humorous with the program: For dinner there could be a "tubby toast", “Going to bed cuddling” could also be called “tubbie cuddling”.

The effect of backround media: ask the brain about opportunities and risks

A waxy position that I oppose with a clear no: the younger the children are, the more sensible it is not to expose them to the influence of electronic media at all. Especially since many parents are really new to how Backround Media works directly on toddlers. The AAP refers to an experiment that Marie Evans Schmidt carried out with her colleagues:

50 Children aged 12, 24 and 36 months played with different toys for exactly one hour. 30 minutes ran in the same room a game show on the television, the other half hour the TV remained switched off. The effect: Backround media not only significantly reduce the playing time of the toddlers, but also the attention with which they devote themselves to the game. The television interrupted the children's play, even if they had not clearly directed their attention to the unit.

First the basics, then media usage

A first indication of the negative interactions between media consumption and brain development - interactions that play an important role in the development of the child. Schmidt and colleagues write:

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"These results indicate later influences that are noticeable in cognitive development."

Digitality instead of reality - that seems a safe one Concept to be the basis for babies to handle digital media healthily later on. First, a cellar must be built, then the first and second floor. Then we can set up a computer under the roof - and do not have to worry that it will later use teens only for Daddeln.


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  1. Susanne

    Digital education is a really important topic! Thanks for that.

  2. David

    This is really a scandal that so much is tricked with children and education.

  3. Jens Nus

    Great post, finally someone says that, keep it up!

  4. firm-job

    The Digital Aids lie - Part 3: Kids & Gamification: The American pediatricians of the AAP are ... - Exciting contributioniAJ3grfNjA

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