The New York Times
Letters to the Editor
Paul J. Donahue, Ph.D.
May 10, 2007

Child's Play: Re "My Daughter, the Burger-Flipping Penguin," by Michelle Slatalla: (Thursday Styles, May 3):

Web sites aimed at young children like and may seem innocent, but we must ask what our kids are missing when they spend hours online.

Many kids are not using their imagination to create their own worlds and may find that self-directed play pales in comparison with bells and whistles and roulette wheels on their screens.

Young computer gurus often argue that reading is "boring" and that they would much rather be online than play outdoors. A fair number of them have difficulty slowing down, playing alone and being mindful, as they become used to the intense level of stimulation and instant feedback they experience on "kid friendly" sites.

Our children have their whole lives to be multitaskers and sit in front of a computer. Can't we just let them be kids first?