December 4, 2006

Low-Tech Toys Cause Kids To Drop Out Of Harvard

Nancy Carlsson-Paige and her fellow early childhood development professor Diane Levin say parents should avoid electronic toys, especially for very young children, because they deny kids important lessons in human communication. Levin has even co-founded an elaborately acronymed organization, Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Childrens Entertainment:

Levin and others who study the relationship between toys, play, and development say toys with electronics bypass the process by which young children learn about cause and effect, including cause and effect of the human kind, such as body language and nonverbal clues. The more high-tech toys a child has and the younger he or she is when they’re introduced, the bigger the potential problem. The first three toys on the TRUCE ‘‘Toys to Avoid’’ list, for instance, are a Baby Einstein video for 9-month-olds, and two electronic learning systems by Leap Frog and Jakks.

‘‘These kinds of toys entice parents ..... but they undermine the process of being an active agent, of being a problem solver,’’ Levin says. That’s a major factor in compassion deficit disorder, she adds. (Levin and Carlsson-Paige are coauthors of ‘‘The War Play Dilemma.’’)

I want to agree, I really do, but I can't help but feel that Carlsson-Paige's case for low-tech, high-interaction, creativity-enhancing toys would be stronger if her own son Matt Damon didn't throw away his future by dropping out of Harvard.

Kids don't get building blocks of learning from high-tech play [ via noisette's maman]
Have you bought something on TRUCE's "Toys To Avoid" list? []

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