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Journal Issue: Children and Computer Technology Volume 10 Number 2 Fall/Winter 2000

Children and Computer Technology: Analysis and Recommendations
Margie K. Shields Richard E. Behrman

Introduction

Feeding children's passion for computers, billions of dollars in both public and private funds are being spent to give children access in school, at home, and in the community. Nearly every school is now equipped with computers,1 and over two-thirds of our nation's children have access at home.2 But is computer technology improving children's lives? This journal issue examines how children are affected by the emerging world of computers. It explores how computer use is affecting children's development physically, intellectually, socially, and psychologically; whether computers are increasing or decreasing the disparities between rich and poor; and whether computers are being used effectively to enhance classroom instruction.

This article reviews the main themes of the journal issue by summarizing highlights of both the promise as well as concerns surrounding children's use of computers, and by focusing on factors society should consider when making choices about the role of technology in children's lives. Why is access important? Who needs access and for what? How can we assure that access leads to positive learning experiences at school and at home? As computers become ubiquitous in our daily lives, it is important to understand how computer technology can enhance or detract from a child's growth and development. Computers are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end. We must determine what we want our children to experience and learn from their use of computers so that they are empowered to take control of this powerful new tool in their lives.