| April 25, 2011

Two weeks ago in a course at Teachers College that is focused on physical activity and education, a fellow student of mine made a statement that snatched my attention. “I don’t let my son onto the computer at all; It’s a sure way for him to become a completely sedentary human being.” Person after person in the class nodded in agreement, and the professor, a doctor of physiology commented on the obesity epidemic plaguing our nation’s children.

I am not a physical educator, and I’m taking the course as one of the mandated out-of-department electives that masters Students are mandated to take. It seemed, however, that the class was blaming computers on the fact that children (and adults) are not getting their requisite physical activity. I was absolutely shocked, and raised my hand incredulously to address the issue. What I ended up saying was that blaming computers on obesity is like blaming school shootings on guns. Indeed, guns do not kill people. PEOPLE kill people. Computers are not making us fat. WE ARE!

I suppose that I’m particularly partial to this issue because I am a proponent of music technology in the class room, and an avid electronic composer and listener. As I said to the class, the educational benefits of computers are obviously multifaceted. I imagine the ease at which I would be composing electronic music had Garageband or Sonar existed when I was a kid. I wonder how much more advanced my listening ears would be if I had possessed Abelton Live. I am appreciative of the access I had to a keyboard that played a variety of instrument sounds when I was kid. Keeping children away from computers would be a tragic mistake. The implications this would have on music education would be drastic. Indeed, imagine children who are not exposed to Youtube. Indeed, not allowing children to computers would have dramatic implications across all educational fields. The supreme irony is that such a move would not guarantee us physically fitter children.