In recent years, government, scholars, and the media have heralded the emergence of a new social problem, the digital divide. This term refers to the phenomenon of unequal access to personal computer technology, a divide separating families who have computers and access to the Internet at home from families who do not. People who already suffer economic or social disadvantages are likely to experience even worse problems in the future because they are being excluded from a computer revolution that is redefining social and economic life in our society. Children's education has become a focal point in discussions of the digital divide. If computers are powerful tools for learning, then children who lack access to computers in their homes or in their schools are likely to suffer serious disadvantages that may change the way they learn throughout their childhood years. Educational and social inequality may increase if less affluent children or children of lesser educational ability use inferior computers at school or if their teachers are not well trained in the use of computers.
Some researchers claim that information technologies can harm children, especially young children. Computer activities displace other forms of recreation or learning opportunities among young schoolchildren aged 13 and younger. The supplement also measures young children's cognitive skills, self-esteem, and other aspects of well being, allowing us to determine whether children who use computers at home differ on these outcomes compared to those who lack technological access. Researchers argue that computers unleash the creative impulse in children and allow children to become aware of how they think and learn. Computers should be integrated into regular classrooms, and the pedagogical approach should be drastically restructured, so that many types of schoolwork are pursued via computer. These researchers identify many potential dangers of children's computer use, from vision problems to...
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