How Do You Balance Books and Internet with Your Children

Last week, there was an interesting op-ed in the New York Times by David Brooks,  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/opinion/09brooks.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y  which did a good job at summarizing the different type of learning “readers” experience with books vs the Internet. Mr Brooks says book readers  “immerse themselves in deep, alternative worlds and hope to gain some lasting wisdom. Respect is paid to the writers who transmit that wisdom” while with the Internet “the new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation”.

Close to the end of this school year, my son who is in Grade 3 had clearly had enough of doing homework this term and wanted to be outside playing. To try to speed through his french comprehension homework, he said “let’s google the translation.” This is not acceptable with me – an anglophone who had to learn french 30 plus years ago and use french-english dictionaries. I wouldn’t let him use the computer. We looked up every word he was challenged by in the french-english dictionary. The world wide web has many purposes in our house – but rushing through homework without thinking about it or having the words register in your brain is not acceptable. I want my child to work out their answer. Is this how my parents felt about the calculator and my math homework?

As parents, are we do a good job at helping our children navigate this new world?

Please share your thoughts and comments.

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