Mindfulness: A way to calm our mind, relax our body

Mindfulness gives kids a tool for understanding how their brain works, for having better self-control,

Handwork: A way to understand our ability.

A motor skill is a learned sequence of movements that combine to produce a smooth, efficient action in order to master a particular task.

Concentration through Craft work

Crafting is both fun to make and fun to play, at the same time, it helps the younger one to concentrate.

Teamwork: Learn to share and work together.

Functionality of a good culture family and society comes from teamwork.

Drawing is a way of self-understanding

Drawing for kids is an important time to enhance their mind and artistic skills, it shows the way of thinking pattern of a person.

Work with your hand

How flexible is your hand means how flexible is your brain, as your brain control your hands.

Fun work with clay

Working with clay is fun, because a child has to learn how to press, to work the clay into round, square, tear drop or peanut shape.

Concentration: training needed for all age.

When a child being able to be comfortable with silence, they have the ability to concentrate.

Everything Starts With One And Builds Up...

For today Energy Mindful Class, children learn to understand "everything starts with one and builds up...".

We starts with one popsicle stick follow by another three, when 4 of the popsicle sticks stick together, it makes a photo frame.

The hidden message for the making of photo frame is that everything need to start with an intention, idea and action. Without anyone of the criteria mentioned, nothing is able to be created.

ONE is the basis of everything. Without coming out with a ONE, it is ZERO.

After making the frames, younger kids draw picture for the frame; whilst older kids making foam flowers with the same theme of today ie starts from ONE and BUILDS UP...

Younger Childrens' Work Piece

Older Childrens' Work Piece

Thomas Crum and his Drum

Moral of the story: Respect and consideration for others are fundamental for living in groups, because there will always be something which annoys people.

Thomas Crum was a boy made from blue and orange plasticine, and he lived in a school. Even though he had many good qualities, he had started to lack respect for others. When his Aunt Agatha, a big multi-coloured ball of plasticine, gave him a drum for his birthday, he was a nightmare. It didn't matter to him if everyone asked him to play the drum a little quieter, or to go and play somewhere else: Thomas went all round the classroom beating his drum, and the fact that he was annoying others didn't affect him in the least.

His classmates stopped wanting to play with him. They suffered so much from his noisy drum that even Coco Wiseman, a very intelligent figure made of lego, invented some special earplugs which allowed you to hear normal sounds, but blocked out the annoying ones. On seeing that the others were ignoring him, and not even being annoyed any more, Thomas got very angry with Coco Wiseman. After a big fight, the inventor ended up falling to the floor all the way from the height of the table. On impact, the blocks he was made of broke up and separated.

Even though it was an accident, everyone was angry with Thomas. No one wanted anything more to do with him, although that didn't bother him a great deal. Everything would have stayed like that if it hadn't have been for the fact that a few days later, a lovely cuckoo clock was put in the classroom, just next to the shelf Thomas slept on. The cuckoo clock was constantly making noise.

-"Tick tock, tick tock,"

and to top it all, every hour the cuckoo came out to do its

-"cuckoo cuckoo!"

Thomas couldn't get any rest at all. However, the others, with their special earplugs, were fine.

Then Thomas started to realise just how much he had annoyed everyone with his drum, and how stupid it had been to fight with Coco Wiseman. Coco was the only one who would be able to help him now. Determined to rectify the situation, and so everyone would eventually see he was becoming the best-behaved, most respectful boy, he spent all his time reconstructing Coco Wiseman in secret. He spent many days and nights working on him, and he finally finished the job just when he could hardly have gone on any longer, what with hardly getting any sleep because of the cuckoo clock.

When Coco was built and came back to life, everyone got a huge surprise, and they enthusiastically congratulated and thanked Thomas for all his work. Thomas, in return, asked them to forgive him for his lack of consideration. And so, although Coco Wiseman was a bit angry at him, Thomas managed to convince him to make a pair of earplugs for him too.

Finally Thomas could get some sleep, and never again was he as inconsiderate as he had been before.

Author.. Pedro Pablo Sacristán

Paper Doll Dress Up Day

I always remember when I was young, I have a few paper dolls, boys and girls, with different type of attire: party, working, beach, etc.

Due to the advancement of our country, I have not seen paper doll selling at the shop in Malaysia.

In order to let the children play "Gathering at the Beach", I have come up with the boy and girl paper doll.

It really makes their day as they have to design by coloring the doll attires, training motor skill by cutting the doll and have fun after all the hard word done.

To download the pattern click here

Benefits of Letting Your Child Feel Discomfort

I think when we talk about failure and what your child can learn from it, we’re really talking about the benefits of allowing your child to feel discomfort. And when I say discomfort, I mean worry, fear, disappointment, and the experience of having consequences for your actions. I think instinctively parents really don’t want their kids to feel uncomfortable about anything, even when they know that sometimes it’s beneficial for their child to pay a price for their choices. And so some parents will fight at the school, they will fight with other parents, they will fight with their kids. They will fight with anybody to claim their child’s right to never feel uncomfortable.

Somehow in our culture, protecting your child from discomfort—and the pain of disappointment—has become associated with effective parenting. The idea seems to be that if your child suffers any discomfort or the normal pain associated with growing up, there’s something you’re not doing as a parent. Personally, I think that’s a dangerous trap parents fall into. While I don’t think situations should be sought out where a child is uncomfortable, I do think if that child is uncomfortable because of some natural situation or consequence, you should not interfere.

Look at it this way: when a child is feeling upset, frustrated, angry or sad, they’re in a position to develop some important coping skills. The first thing they learn is to avoid similar situations. So if your child is called on in class to answer a homework question and he didn’t do it, he can learn to avoid that by doing his homework—not by having his mother tell the teacher not to call on him anymore because it makes him feel bad.

The other thing that happens is that your child builds up a tolerance for discomfort, an emotional callous, if you will, and I think that’s very valuable. Discomfort is such a part of our life, whether you’re squeezed into a subway car, waiting in line at the supermarket, or passed over for a promotion. Everyone experiences difficult things from time to time, which will make you uncomfortable and frustrated. It’s so important for your child to be able to learn how to manage those situations and to develop a tolerance for them. And make no mistake, if he doesn’t learn to tolerate discomfort, he’s going to be a very frustrated adolescent and adult.

So I advise parents to let your kid wait in line—don’t try to figure out how to cut ahead. When your child is starting to get frustrated, point it out. You can say, “Yeah, I know it’s frustrating to wait, but this is the way we have to do it.” Suggest a coping skill.

When you shield your child from discomfort, what he learns is that he should never have to feel anything unpleasant in life. He develops a false sense of entitlement. He learns that he doesn’t really have to be prepared in school, because his parents will complain to the teacher, who will stop calling on him or expecting his homework to be in on time. He learns that his parents will raise the tolerance for deviance. If his parents are successful, the teacher will tolerate less compliance from him because of his parents’ intervention. He learns to confront a problem with power rather than dealing with it through responsibility and acceptance.

How to Talk to Your Child about Failing: 3 Questions Parents Should Ask
Whether dealing with feelings of discomfort or feelings of failure, there are three simple questions parents can ask their child.

1. “What part did you play in this?”
That’s what you want your child to learn, because that’s all he can change. The lesson stems from there. Your child might say, “I don’t know what part I played, Dad.” You can respond by saying, “Well, let’s think about it. Where did you get off track? Where did things go wrong for you?” If your child doesn’t know, you can say, “Well, it seems to me you got off track when you didn’t have your homework ready when your teacher called on you. The part you played was not being prepared. And the solution to that is getting prepared.” Your child may agree with you, or he may try to offer some defense. But any defense that’s offered is not going to be legitimate as long as you’re speaking in the context of “What part did you play?” You just need to point out, “Well, it seems to me like you’re making an excuse for not having your homework done.” Or “Seems to me you’re blaming me for not having your homework done.” Or “It looks to me like you’re blaming your teacher for not having your homework done.”—whatever the case may be.

2. “What are you going to do differently next time?”
So it’s, “What are you going to do differently the next time when you have to do your homework?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time so that if your teacher calls on you, you won’t get embarrassed?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time to pass the test?” This is a big question in this conversation with your child, because it gets him to see other, healthier ways of responding to the problem.

3. “What did you learn from this?”
“What did you learn from being embarrassed when your teacher called on you?” “What did you learn from not passing the test?” Put the responsibility back on your child. If you take his responsibility over, it’s just going to become a power struggle. With all the problems that exist in education today, the last thing you need is to be in a power struggle with your child’s teacher.

Now you may say, “Well you don’t understand, my child’s teacher is different.” I do understand that. There are effective teachers and ineffective teachers. But let me ask you this: when is your child going to learn to deal with ineffective teachers? Where do you think your child is going to learn to deal with injustice? Part of learning—for everyone—involves feeling uncomfortable at times. Part of loving your child responsibly means that you need to let him feel discomfort, and even fail, as long as he’s learning how to be accountable for his actions in the process.

by James Lehman, MSW

Why You Should Let Your Child Fail

The Benefits of Natural Consequences
by James Lehman, MSW

Watching your child fail makes you feel helpless, angry and sad. You worry about everything from your child’s self-esteem and social development to their future success. James Lehman explains that while it’s natural for parents to worry about failure, there are times when it can be productive for kids—and a chance for them to change.

"Failure is an opportunity to get your child to look at himself."

Parents tell me all the time that they fear their child will fail in life. When I ask them what specifically they’re afraid of their child failing, usually it’s school-related—a certain subject, or perhaps a grade level. The thinking of most parents is, once you start failing in school, it’s hard to catch up. For many parents, it creates a crisis in the family when their child fails in a subject or gets bad grades. And I understand that.

I’d like to talk about the word “crisis” for a minute. It’s often stated that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.” I think that parents see the danger part very clearly in a crisis, but often they don’t see the opportunity: your child has the opportunity to learn an important lesson. The lesson might be about the true cost of cutting corners, what happens when he doesn’t do his best at something, or what the real consequences are for not being productive. It might be a chance for your child to learn the cost of misleading and lying to his parents about how much work he’s actually done or what grades he’s receiving. I think if your child misleads and he gets a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for his behavior and he should experience the discomfort of his choices.

Many of the parents I see are uncomfortable with this at first. Instead of allowing their child to fail, they try to get the teacher to change the grade. Believe me, if a parent is in the martyr role, they’re going to go up and fight for their child in school—and they’re going to believe they’re right. But sadly, what their child is going to learn is that they don’t have to take responsibility for their ineffective behavior—that somebody else is going to fight for them. Let me be clear: when you try to change the actions of people around your child so he won’t feel disappointed or upset, your child is not going to learn the lesson you imagine he’s going to learn. And not only that, he’s also not going to learn math, or science, or whatever it is he’s been avoiding. Worst of all, he’s not even going to learn to not be duplicitous in the future. What he is going to learn is that “It’s OK. If I screw up enough, Mom will take care of it.” Or “Dad has more power than the teacher, so he can take care of it.”

Once again we see the danger of your child thinking that power can solve his problems. When that conclusion is made, he learns that power can replace responsibility. In a healthier equation, schoolwork problems are dealt with by the child who gradually takes more responsibility in doing his homework. The power emanates from the responsibility-taking. But if a parent goes and fights with the school and gets the teacher to change the grade, then the power is coming from the wrong place. Your child is going to learn that power trumps responsibility. In fact, he will learn that the power of being manipulative and threatening is more valuable than actually being accountable and doing the work competently.

Many parents have reasons to justify their defense of their child. They may cite the unfairness of the school system, their child’s learning difficulties or behavioral problem, the principal’s attitude, or the prior history of their child at the school. I understand that those things can be very real. It’s easier to fight with the teacher than it is to fight with your child. It’s just that simple. And it’s easier to change the teacher—or even the school rules—than to get your child to change.

I think if your child didn’t do his homework, ignored a project that was due, or lied and misled you or his teacher, the fact remains that it’s his responsibility to experience the natural consequences of his actions. And the biggest consequence is that your child has failed. To me, this is not the end of the world, it’s a lesson, just like anything else designed to help him see that he’s not making the grade. Receiving a failing grade is a gauge of how he’s doing, and if he’s failed something, he needs to solve the problem responsibly.

A word about lying: another thing you should ask yourself is if your child is being dishonest or manipulative about his homework, what else is he being dishonest and manipulative about? And when he’s supposed to be studying after school, what is he really doing? This opens up other questions because we know if somebody is duplicitous in one area, that behavior can spread to other areas quickly. Failing a subject in school is one thing, sudden changes in performance across the board is another.

I believe if your child fails a subject or even fails the year, if you’re addressing the problem, you’re starting to solve it. It’s an opportunity to get your child to make some changes. Failure is an opportunity to get your child to look at himself. Part of parents’ sensitivity to this is that if their child fails, they feel like they’ve failed, too. So they’re hyper-sensitive to that, and I understand. It’s tough to be a parent who works hard and does the best he or she can, and then have your kids fail. You want to say, “What more can I do?” But the question really is, “What more can my child do?” It’s not “What am I not doing as a parent?” It’s “What is he not doing as a student?” That’s the right question to ask yourself.

Continue Reading Benefits of Letting your child Feel Discomfort

Are you doing too much for your child?

If you’re doing too much for your child, you will eventually feel burned out and put upon. You can determine if you are an over-functioner if you tend to move in quickly with advice, think you know what’s best, not only for yourself but for others, have a low threshold for your child’s pain and don’t allow him to struggle with his own problems. You might have difficulty sharing your own vulnerability and spend more time focusing on others’ goals than your own. The people around you probably think of you as always reliable and together.

You might not see it as a problem until you start to burn out. Understand that over–functioning and under–functioning are a “circular relationship pattern” because these two roles feed off of each other. You may feel over responsible for your child, directing his moods, controlling his decisions and micro–managing his social life. In this way, you unwittingly encourage your child to be passive in life and become an under–functioner. When this happens, he begins to rely on you to do all the things he should be doing for himself. And you think, "He needs me. I can't just let him drown."

Is My Child an “Under–functioner”?

I once worked with a couple who always over–functioned for their child, doing things for him that he could do himself. This son always skated through classes because the parents gets someone to do his homework for him. Everything at home is prepared by the maid even waking up in the morning to school has to be reminded several times by the parents. As such, he did not learn how to rely on his own abilities, blame others if he does not get what he wanted, take the necessary risks, develop the ability to think for himself, fight with the mother and at times he even overacted showing his fist to his mother.

His parents could not tolerate their own anxiety about unhappiness of their son if he does not get what he wanted or the pain of watching him struggle. By over-functioning for him, they inadvertently robbed his of the skills and practice necessary to develop competence and mastery in his life.

The bottom line is that if a parent’s emotional needs are met through their child, essentially they’re tying his shoes for his every step of the way.

If you have a child who has been diagnosed with a learning disability or a behavioral disorder, it gives you even more of a reason to do too much for them. It may even feel as if it’s expected and natural to over–focus on your child. But understand that it’s not really doing them any favors in the long run, because they’re not learning how to do things for themselves. And one day, your child will need to go out into the world and function as an adult. Of course, it's important to understand their disability and help them when appropriate, but try not to let your anxiety compel you to overdo for them and underdo for yourself. When that happens, you run the risk of ending up angry, resentful and burned out.

What do adult under–functioners look like? Under–functioners are skilled in the art of “learned helplessness.” They have quite literally learned to be helpless, because someone was always there to pick up the pieces for them. They often act irresponsibly, aren’t able to handle uncomfortable emotions well, float without goals, become ill a lot, can tend to become addicted to substances, ask for advice when they need to figure things out for themselves and get others to always help them. They will often search out a partner who will take care of their needs and pick up where their parents left off. And keeping a job is hard for under–functioners, because they’re always looking for someone to swoop in and rescue them. For many people who were raised this way, the world is a scary place—and instead of venturing out and making a life for themselves, they choose to stay home with mom and dad indefinitely.

Continue Reading Are You Doing Too Much For Your Child?

Outcome of Too Capable Parent

If your child seems to be under functioning you might be contributing by over functioning for him.

Your teenage girl leaves her dirty clothes all over her room, and you have been nagging her to pick them up and place in the laundry basket but for some years she never improve and you are continuing yelling at her every time the scene repeats. Now, instead of getting into another fight with her or nagging her to pick them up, you do it for her. Why? because it is easier.

Another son of you refuses to go to tuition center as he is not interested in learning and when you need to send him off to tuition center, both of you have to go through a routine fight before he gets in the car.

These sounds familiar to you?

At times, we "over-function" in our relationship especially with our children. You might not realize how this being started and most of the time you don't even notice that you are over functioning. Let's say your 4-years old know how to eat by himself, but you spoon feed her because it is faster and soon it becomes a habit. Or your 8-year-old son, who does not remember his duty as a student, forgets his text book again, and you rush to school for him. Or your adult daughter is not happy with her first job and doesn't know how to co-ordinate with her colleague, and jump in to advice her to quit the job (as the family doesn't require her salary for daily expenditures and all her salary is her pocket money) and try to "fix" the situation without listening to her.

When you get stuck in a role of doing too much, you might find it hard to give up—and often, those around you might not want you to stop!

It’s easy to get stuck in this role because you feel needed, people rely on you and are impressed with how much you do. But understand that over–functioning isn’t just a simple desire to be helpful or an annoying habit to overcome. Look at it this way: if you’re always focused on everybody else, it’s a way to not focus on yourself. Over–functioning is the way we’ve learned to manage our own anxiety by overdoing, just like your under–functioning child has learned to manage stress by underdoing. This turns into a problem when it becomes a fixed pattern in your family.

So for example, let’s say your 23–year–old son sleeps all day, parties all night, watch TV all day and won’t look for work, but you let him live under your roof without paying rent or asking him to leave. You find yourself waiting on him hand and foot. Maybe you're going along with this because you're avoiding the discomfort of a confrontation. But the question to ask yourself is, "Is this in my child's best interests or in mine?" Are you helping your child, or are you teaching your child to be helpless?

Continue Reading on Is My Child Under Functioner?

Ten Ways to Be a Better Dad

Fathers play an important role in the psychological, behavioral and academic development of their children. In the spirit of Father's Day, A-Better-Child.org offers ten ways for dads to make the most of this very special role.

1. Respect Your Children's Mother: One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong and vital. If you're not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children. A father and mother who respect each other, and let their children know it, provide a secure environment for them. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected.

2. Spend Time With Your Children: How a father spends his time tells his children what's important to him. If you always seem to busy for your children, they will feel neglected no matter what you say. Treasuring children often means sacrificing other things, but it is essential to spend time with your children. Kids grow up so quickly. Missed opportunities are forever lost.

3. Earn The Right To Be Heard: All too often the only time a father speaks to his children is when they have done something wrong. That's why so many children cringe when their mother says, "Your father wants to talk with you." Begin talking with your kids when they are very young so that difficult subjects will be easier to handle as they get older. Take time and listen to their ideas and problems.

4. Discipline With Love: All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for desirable behavior. Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love for their children.

5. Be A Role Model: Fathers are role models to their kids whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by boys, and what to look for in a husband. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility. "All the world's a stage..." and a father plays one of the most vital roles.

6. Be A Teacher: Too many fathers think teaching is something others do. But a father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children make good choices. Involved fathers use everyday examples to help their children learn the basic lessons of life.

7. Eat Together As A Family: Sharing a meal together (breakfast, lunch or dinner) can be an important part of healthy family life. In addition to providing some structure in a busy day, it gives kids the chance to talk about what they are doing and want to do. It is also a good time for fathers to listen and give advice. Most importantly, it is a time for families to be together each day.

8. Read To Your Children: In a world where television often dominates the lives of children, it is important that fathers make the effort to read to their children. Children learn best by doing and reading, as well as seeing and hearing. Begin reading to your children when they are very young. When they are older encourage them to read on their own. Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.

9. Show Affection: Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted, accepted and loved by their family. Parents, especially fathers, need to feel both comfortable and willing to hug their children. Showing affection everyday is the best way to let your children know that you love them.

10. Realize That A Father's Job Is Never Done: Even after children are grown and ready to leave home, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Whether it's continued schooling, a new job or a wedding, fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.

Brain training & Amygdala

The amygdala manages connections and responses between several regions of the brain. It's directly involved with emotional well-being, the flight-or-flight response and fear conditioning. A recent study also suggests that the amygdala plays a role in the complexity of social life.

Activating the amygdala in a positive way stimulates higher order mental processes. This can improve creativity and intelligence while also elevating positive emotions.

The opposite of amygdala activation is negative reaction. When we react to a challenging situation in a suboptimal way, it's processed as a negative emotion. This feeling is regulated by the amygdala. The emotional feedback allows us to easily determine if we are thinking creatively or just relying on survival instincts.

By noticing the difference in thought processes we can consciously control the direction which the amygdala sends its impulses.

Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). [CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

We can choose to stimulate the amygdala forward, turning on the reward centers for positive emotions. When the amygdala is stimulated forward it's sending signals to our frontal lobes. This is where the brain handles cognitive functions such as long-term decision making and appropriate social actions. I'm sure you'll recognize the importance of these functions in life success. When the amygdala signals backwards it's inducing a fear response. In this state we operate from the base levels of instinct, residing in the reptile brain. Needless to say, thinking motivated by this part of the brain is probably not well suited for modern society.

These responses, both positive and negative, are hard wired into us by mother nature. However, because of how clever we humans are, we can consciously control our responses, taking charge of our reactions to the environment.

Stimulating the amygdala with regular practice helps us enter a psychological state of flow. In this state we tend to forget about the problems and drama of life. Being in flow can result in single-minded focus and joy from engaging in productive activity. Trivial problems don't slow you down when you are actively engaged and living creatively.

Practicing meditation, living creatively and being positive are some things we can do to improve our amygdala's responses. Certain practices may take more time and effort, but the outcome will be rewarding.

There are many simple exercises we can do to activate this positive response. Any time we engage our imaginative thought processes we're using the frontal lobes. This image shows precisely where the amygdala is located in the brain. Picture where it is inside your skull, then try some of the exercises listed below the image.

Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). [CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are a few exercises you can do to ignite your imagination and activate those frontal lobes:

① Picture the amygdala inside your skull. Now imagine that it's glowing with red light. Imagine the light surging into your frontal lobes and gently setting off billions of neural pathways.

② Recall a frustrating situation. Imagine how you would have felt if you remained relaxed and in control when it happened. Would you have considered another solution to your problem in this resourceful state?

③ In your minds eye imagine a feather reaching back to your amygdala and gently tickling the surface.

④ Imagine meeting your idol. What questions would you ask them? Try to create a vivid mental picture of this meeting. Maybe your idol can provide some answers that will surprise you.

⑤ Everyone has issues in their life that sometimes seem unsolvable. What would you do if you didn't have to deal with those problems? Imagine how you would feel if you knew how to solve those problems.

Hopefully you enjoyed some of these exercises. Get creative with them and make something up to achieve a similar effect.

article from: "Clear Mind Meditation Techniques

Study: Young kids better with tech than 'life skills'

A survey of online mothers found that more small children can play a computer game than ride a bike. The Digital Diaries study from Internet security firm AVG said that 58 percent of children aged two to five know how to play a "basic computer game" compared with 52 percent who know how to ride a bike. Sixty-three percent can turn a computer on and off, and 69 percent can use a mouse. By contrast, only 20 percent can "swim unaided," 11 percent can tie their shoelaces without help, and 20 percent know how to make an emergency phone call.

The study polled of 2,200 online mothers of children between two and five years old in the U.S., Canada, the EU5 (U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain), Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, according to AVG.

Other interesting findings are that 25 percent know how to use a browser, 16 percent can navigate between Web sites, 15 percent know at least one Web address, and 19 percent know how to operate a smartphone or a tablet. On the analog side of life, 39 percent know their home address, 27 percent can make their own breakfast, and 37 percent can write their first and last name.

The study also found that mothers older than 35 are "marginally better at teaching their children life skills," which the survey defines as non-tech skills like making breakfast or riding a bike. The study also concluded that "there is no tech gender divide between young boys and girls. As many boys [58 percent] as girls [59 percent] can play a computer game or make a mobile phone call [28 percent boys, 29 percent girls]."

It's great that kids are so tech-savvy, the study points out that they may not be getting the "life skills" they need in other areas of their lives. In an interview, AVG's Tony Anscombe said "Because we (adults) are so connected, maybe what we don't understand is what we're actually doing is connecting our children the same way, and it's becoming normal for them and maybe we're ignoring some of those life skills as well."

Anscombe added, "as parents there is a digital responsibility to be had. We need to look at making sure that we give our children a balanced life and a mix of both life skills and technical skills."

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/

Computer games stunt teen brains

Hi-tech maps of the mind show that computer games are damaging brain development and could lead to children being unable to control violent behaviour

Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study.

The tendency to lose control is not due to children absorbing the aggression involved in the computer game itself, as previous researchers have suggested, but rather to the damage done by stunting the developing mind.

Using the most sophisticated technology available, the level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. To the surprise of brain-mapping expert Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan, it was found that the computer game only stimulated activity in the parts of the brain associated with vision and movement.

In contrast, arithmetic stimulated brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres of the frontal lobe - the area of the brain most associated with learning, memory and emotion.

Most worrying of all was that the frontal lobe, which continues to develop in humans until the age of about 20, also has an important role to play in keeping an individual's behaviour in check.

Whenever you use self-control to refrain from lashing out or doing something you should not, the frontal lobe is hard at work.

Children often do things they shouldn't because their frontal lobes are underdeveloped. The more work done to thicken the fibres connecting the neurons in this part of the brain, the better the child's ability will be to control their behaviour. The more this area is stimulated, the more these fibres will thicken.

The students who played computer games were halting the process of brain development and affecting their ability to control potentially anti-social elements of their behaviour.

'The importance of this discovery cannot be underestimated,' Kawashima told The Observer .

'There is a problem we will have with a new generation of children - who play computer games - that we have never seen before.

'The implications are very serious for an increasingly violent society and these students will be doing more and more bad things if they are playing games and not doing other things like reading aloud or learning arithmetic.'

Kawashima, in need of funding for his research, originally decided to investigate the levels of brain activity in children playing video games expecting to find that his research would be a boon to manufacturers.

He expected it to reassure parents that there are hidden benefits to the increasing number of hours their children were devoting to computer games and was startled by what he discovered.

He compared brain activity in children playing Nintendo games with those doing an exercise called the Kraepelin test, which involves adding single-digit numbers continuously for 30 minutes.

The students were given minute doses of a radioactive pharmaceutical through an intravenous drip which allowed a computer to map a complex picture of their brains at work. A subsequent study was conducted using magnetic resonance images.

Both studies confirmed the high level of brain activity involved in carrying out simple addition and subtraction and that this activity was particularly pronounced in the frontal lobe, in both the left and right hemispheres.

Though it is often thought that only the left hemisphere is active for mathematical work and that the right hemi sphere is stimulated by more creative thinking, the professor found that arithmetic produced a high level of activity in both hemispheres.

In subsequent studies, Kawashima established that arithmetic exercises also stimulate more brain activity than listening to music or listening to reading. Reading out loud was also found to be a very effective activity for activating the frontal lobe.

Kawashima, visiting the UK to speak at this weekend's annual conference of the private learning programme Kumon Educational UK, said the message to parents was clear.

'Children need to be encouraged to learn basic reading and writing, of course,' he said. 'But the other thing is to ask them to play outside with other children and interact and to communicate with others as much as possible. This is how they will develop, retain their creativity and become good people.'

article from: http://www.guardian.co.uk

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