Computer and Internet in Education

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The Impact of Home Computer Use on Children’s Activities and Development
Kaveri Subrahmanyam Robert E. Kraut Patricia M. Greenfield Elisheva F. Gross
“I really want to move to Antarctica—I’d want my cat and Internet access and I’d be happy.” —16-year-old HomeNet participant (1995) Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Ph.D., is assistant professor of child development at California State University, Los Angeles. Robert E. Kraut, Ph.D., is professor of social psychology and humancomputer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Patricia M. Greenfield, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Elisheva F. Gross, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Los
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This article begins by describing the increasing amount of time children are spending on home computers and the impact of computer use on other activities. This discussion is followed by a survey of the available research about the effects of home computer use on children’s activities and development in four broad areas: (1) physical well-being, (2) cognitive and academic skill development, (3) social development and relationships, and (4) perceptions of reality. The article concludes with a summary of the issues requiring further study to better understand what can be done to ensure that children’s use of home computers has a positive impact on their lives.

Displacement of Other Activities
When children use home
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