One Laptop Per Child?
December 21, 2006 11 Comments
I am reading more and more about that OLPC thingy. I’m asking myself, who needs this? Who has thought out this crap? In my opinion and experience as father, the last thing that a child needs is a laptop (with my definition of a child beeing <= 10 years old).Sorry folks, I don't get this. Here's my opinion on what our children really need:
- Parents. This does not mean that they have to be the physical parents. ‘Nuff said.
- Time to learn. Nowadays many parents seem to assume that children must learn early and everything. What is really happening is that they project the pressure that _they_ experience in life (and most likely don’t feel capable to deal with) on their children and think they do something good when the child learns to deal with it early. Sorry, there’s no good here. Overloading children only has the effect that it makes them passive. The first thing you must keep in mind is that children actually _want_ to learn. Let me give an example. I was told many times by my own parents that my son must learn walking (back when he was <1 year old) so I should teach it to him. I said, no, he first must learn how to crawl (is that the right english word?). And he learns walking himself. So, instead of taking him by the hand and pulling him (despite that he simply could not stand for himself) I let him do what he actually can do and learn own his own. And yes, he learned walking completely on his own. No need to push him. After all, this enabled him to experience himself how complicated it is to stand on two legs and to put one foot after the other. And you should have seen him how proud he was: 'Look! I am standing here. And now I am making one step after the other' Wow! What a great experience. Don't take this experience of learning themselves own away from your children!
- Childhood. No kidding. AFAICS, god (yeah yeah) made the children so that they play. Now what good is it to hammer all kinds of knowledge and abilities into them for what they were not made? Sure, later in life they need alot of this. But you must understand that playing is how children learn living. Their play is very much like our work. In fact, it is real work for them to play. Let the children play and don’t push them in the adult world too early.
On the contrary, I think that children don’t need:
- Floods of information and media. Personally I have banned TV and radio from our household. The only music that plays is some good records or (better yet) self-made music. We all like to sing. My son is enjoying to play his drumkit (and he’s good at that! wow) as well as singing (loudly. too loudly sometimes 😉 ) and all kinds of music. There’s no asking for TV or radio at all. I can’t stand people who say that children need TV. That’s pure bullshit. My tip if you have hyperactive kids: Throw out the TV and radio. Do it! There’s only shit coming out of it anyway, and you don’t want to load stockpiles of shit on your children, right?
- Plastic toys. What sensual experience is plastic? None at all. It’s clean, its flat, its boring. The best thing is some real wooden sticks or some earth and water. Nothing expensive. Really. Ok, this means you have to clean the clothes a little more often. In the summer I try to let my son play naked to avoid this problem. I guess he’s coming into an age where that is not an option anymore. That’s life.
- And certainly, kids don’t need a computer. What good is that? What should they do with that? Learn how to play with an automat? Or, learn calculating or writing with it? Sorry, the computer is by far the worst teacher or playmate that I could think of. There’s really no use for computers for children under 11 years or so. Don’t get me wrong. I DO think that our kids need to learn how to deal with computers. But they need to learn this when it’s time to learn this. When they are adolescent for example.
I can’t hear all that crap that is coming out of the ministries of education, that children have to go to school early (<=5 years) or that children need computers early (<= 5 years). It makes me sad that I get into a situation where I have to go through real efforts because I don't agree with the general opinion. I want to decide how my child grows up and I don't want some minister to decide what's good. I don't want to grow up zombie kids.
Man, I am really upset.