Ban small kids from PCs says shrink

A psychologist wants schools to ban children under the age of nine from using computers because the technology is damaging their brains.

Dr Aric Sigman told at a conference of childcare reformers Open Eye, that technology can affect children's attentions spans and can, um... ooh look a puppy!

But Sigman has a tendency to court controversy and cherry-pick his data in order to come up with good book-selling headlines. The Bad Science website analyses some of his prognostications here.

"There is evidence to show that introducing information and communication technology (ICT) in the early years actually subverts the very skills that government ministers said they want children to develop, such as the ability to pay attention for sustained periods," Dr Sigman said.

The Early Years Foundation Stage suggests that computers should be introduced from 22 months and that from 40 months children should be able to use the TV remote control or manipulate a mouse and keyboard.

"The big problems we are seeing now with children who do not read, or who find it difficult to pay attention to the teacher, or to communicate, are down to attention damage that we are finding in all age groups," Sigman added.

He laso admitted that computer technology can aid learning, but said it "must be introduced and used judiciously at much later ages - ideally at least age nine - or it can subvert the development of the cognitive skills and curiosity it was intended to foster and enhance,"

Sigman rose to prominence on the back of an attack on Facebook and other social networking sites which the Daily Wail interpreted as: 'Facebook gives you cancer'.

He also said kids should be banned from watching telly.