EFFECTS OF THE INTERNET ON CHILDREN'S MOTOR SKILLS
Miller (2001), in a discussion of developmental stage theories, points out that most major developmental psychologists state that children progress in both physical and cognitive growth through a series of phases or stages. Typically, these stage theories hold that from about two to seven years, children develop their motor skills. This has led some educators (e.g., Drake, 1999; Hirschbuhl, 2003) to suggest that the sights and sounds of computers as well as the motions involved in typing and clicking with a mouse may serve as excellent resources for the development of young children's cognitive and motor skill growth. The purpose of this paper is to examine the literature on the effects of computer usage involving the Internet on the motor skill development of young children.
Can using the Internet help young children develop their motor skills? Shneiderman (1998) statds that children can learn both cognitive and motor skills from using the Internet but that the degree to which they are motivated to learn is, at least in part, dependent upon the user-interface design process and the extent to which it has been appropriately modified for the young user and the tasks required. Shneiderman states that the extent to which a child's use of the Internet will facilitate cognitive and/or motor skills growth will depend upon making sure that their use of it is age appropriate.
Therefore, if children are between three and five years of age, which means they have not yet learned to read, then the Internet will best facilitate skill development if the task is short (8-15 minutes) and if it builds on something they remember from the day before. This focuses them on the task at high levels of motivational intensity and thereby maximizes what they can learn from the task in terms of both cognitive and motor skills.
For children who are a little bit older, the Internet can still be ...