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Should children be used to try out new interactive computer technology?

Mary Coulter, an ESL teacher, asked her students this question.

"Recently, I heard that scientists are using pre-school children to try out new interactive computer technology. The children think they are playing with toys, but the scientists are doing research. What do you think of using children this way?"

Here's what her students had to say about this issue.

Clara Ploux from Portugal:
I think this can open new fields to future technology. The main idea of scientists is to make it possible for people to have high technology in every day life objects. We can expect that one day it will be a reality. Children are able to show the best way to make this future technology work because they have an important creative potential and they are unafraid of unfamiliar machines. However it's also important to teach them old and classic cultures. Scientists and psychologists must think about the danger for children to be hooked in a virtual

Nutthawuth Suwanwong (Pao) from Thailand: I think children have a lot of talent to create everything because they are curious to know everything that they have never seen before. Curiousness creates an inspiration to make a new thing. As well as they determine to do things by feeling. This differs from adults because adults determine to do things by preconceptions and experience that can't make new things or "gizmos." I think when they grow up, they will bring us to the new world.

Jenny Labrador from Venezuela: This is new and interesting information for me. I know about children's creativity. Although, I have never had the idea that the differences between adults' ideas and children's ideas were so big, I think now, if the companies want to have or to create a successful toy, they need to have the experts' opinions. They need to have the children's opinions. However, if we think about our children, we can figure out we don't have any idea about our children's education. I am worried about the technological advance and its influence on children's future lives.

Ta-Nung Chen from Taiwan: I think it's wrong that scientists (adults) always focus on function of the computer to generate the stuff that they want, but the convenient one. Thus, they create useless computers which lead everyone to lose his/her patience when operating them. I deeply believe that it's a good way because the kids play will guide them to find a more convenient and useful way to connect computer and life. Finally, people will find the computer is not only cool stuff but a part of life.

Keiko Ishibashi from Japan: I approve of children making use of computers to play with other children. However, I oppose children making use of computers to play alone because childhood is a very important time to learn to associate with other people. In Japan, it has become known that the number of children who are unsociable has increased recently.

Wen-Ling Lee from Taiwan: Children sometimes study or learn things faster than adults. When you teach a new thing to both of them, you will find children more interested than adults. They want to study or learn everything, but adults just learn what they want to learn. There is different attitude between children and adults. For example, I have taught my students how to get the Internet. I only taught them one time and they tried it by themselves. It was a surprise to me, they can get on very well. I also taught my mother the same thing, but my mother still doesn't know how to do it. Children sometimes want to study new things and learn everything fast. For them everything is interesting.

Yi-Chun Tseng from Taiwan: Computers will produce our social questions in the future. There are two reasons. First, people won't know how get along with someone. For example, there is so much software for children. The child can play by himself/herself. They have just one machine friend. Another reason, people can't find jobs. For example, many scientists try to create robots now. Bosses won't hire people in the future. Robots can help them to earn money. Bosses just pay oil fees. Hiring a robot is cheaper than a human. Human find job will become difficult. Computer will lead to harm in our social life.

So-Im Kim from Korea: Children look at computers in a different way from adults. Adults have preconceptions about how computers are supposed to work, but kids are creative, outspoken and unafraid of unfamiliar gizmos. So they could be testers of the experiments that may determine the future of computing. In fact, sometimes I feel that high technology is strange and I'm afraid of it. But kids seem to feel it to be a part of their lives and enjoy it. Adults usually think of computers or robots as hard and inanimate objects. However, kids play and talk with them. /we may have more hidden conveniences. I don't know whether I can adapt myself to the world of hidden computing. However, because kids approach computers naturally in their lives, they may be familiar with the world.

Andres Libreros from Colombia: Children play an important role in computer advances and research, but in my own personal opinion, they mustn't be involved by technology at all. One reason is children must be socialized when they are coming of age with other people. Secondly, children must play physical games to improve their body, grow up, and mind development. Next reason technology is so important but there are other people to work on it. However, children in certain ages can work for technology advances, this is because they have more fanciful skills, and no fear of interacting with electronic devices to play as well as toys. Finally,maybe yes or maybe not, technology and computers will probably cut off children from certain artistic skills. Children and technology must have a controlled and supervised relationship.

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