What Do Children’s Brain Cells Do? Not Much Anymore

Long ago humans possessed a tail, but today it is vestigial.  Will the same be said one day about human imagination?

Reading Lawrence Downes’ thoughtful speculations in the New York Times about the impact of interactive books on children, we have to wonder if our descendants will be devoid of one of the key characteristics that separate us from all other species. His concerns are intensified by a study that “found children swimming in a media ocean.” “What,” he wonders, “does interactivity do for the imagination, as reading a book gets closer and closer to watching television?”

Downes’ dark ruminations were inspired by a visit to Apple’s virtual bookstore, “a wonderland of unbound creativity and astonishment. The text is just the beginning, an anchor for pictures that glow and unfold, characters who talk and tumble, words that pronounce themselves and music that enlivens everything…. But does digital interactivity engender mental passivity? As fingers flick and flit, making pixels work harder, what do brain cells do?”

What indeed?  If they don’t do anything, they will atrophy and fade into oblivion, making us little better than cabbages gazing at screens.

Richard Curtis

Every Blogger owes a debt of gratitude to newspapers and magazines. This posting relies on original research and reporting performed by The New York Times.


One Response to What Do Children’s Brain Cells Do? Not Much Anymore

  1. renzo says:

    I don’t believe it.
    In the contemporary times, differences between media designer and the user are vague. Everyone is exposed to «a wonderland of unbound creativity and astonishment», but the fruition is merely the firs step.
    The second step is (e.g.) fandom, the third is the original creation.

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