Monday, April 24, 2006

Evolution or damage?

An intriguing comment piece in the Guardian, following on from Baroness Greenfield’s speech about the possible effects of IT on brain development.

While not suggesting a revolt by mere democracies against the corporate power of the IT industries, Greenfield suggests this is an idea that should at least be investigated further. She wants more government funding for the scientists and educators trying to understand the impact of the digital-picture world on how children learn to think - surely a more important area for state-backed research than endless lifestyle or obesity surveys.

It's certainly worth thinking about because if she’s right, it raises a lot of questions. Should we be doing something about it, or accept it as an inevitable evolutionary change? Are we depriving children of essential skills, or equipping them to live in the world they’re growing into?

It’s good to have the issue raised – as with so many IT developments, it’s easy for the essential ‘should we?’ debate to be eclipsed by the ‘can we?’


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