London: Parents, please note -- giving
your child a computer could actually affect their reading and
mathematical skills, a new study has claimed.
Researchers have based their findings on an analysis
of information on computer ownership and use with end-of-year
test results for more than 150,000 pupils aged ten to 14, the
`Daily Mail` reported.
In fact, the researchers were able to compare the
same children`s reading and maths scores before and after they
acquired a home computer. They could also compare their scores
to those of peers who had always had a home computer and to
those who never had access to one.
The negative effects on reading and maths scores were
"modest but significant", the findings revealed.
Lead researcher Professor Jacob Vigdor said: "Adults
may think of computer technology as a productivity tool but
the average kid doesn`t share that perception."
The figures covered 2000 to 2005, a period before the
rise of networking sites such as Facebook, which, said the
study, could have an even bigger impact.
According to the researchers, home computers are put
to better use in households where parental monitoring is more
effective and in disadvantaged households, parents are less
likely to monitor children`s computer use and guide them in
using the technology to help their schoolwork.
Prof Vigdor concluded that for schools hoping to
maximise attainment or reduce the impact of socio-economic
disparities "a programme of broadening home computer access
would be counter-productive".
However, the study, published by the National Bureau
of Economic Research, said home computers may boost technical
skills not measured in school tests which could help pupils
find work in later life.