Alarms sound as par­ents favour DVD over I Spy travel games

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

A PAR­ENT’S god­send or ed­u­ca­tional night­mare?

In-car DVD play­ers and video games have come un­der at­tack from a lead­ing UK com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­pert who says tra­di­tional games such as I Spy should be favoured travel ac­tiv­i­ties to boost chil­dren’s lit­er­acy.

For­mer ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist Jean Gross said, in­stead, par­ents used low­main­te­nance al­ter­na­tives.

‘‘There’s a great be­lief among some par­ents that talk­ing will come by it­self but it’s not au­to­matic. Chil­dren de­velop in close con­tact with adults,’’ Ms Gross said.

Torsten Samp­son of Mo­bile In­stal­la­tions said DVDs could help en­ter­tain rest­less chil­dren and pre­vent them dis­tract­ing the driver.

‘‘The main rea­son we have one in­stalled is to keep the kids quiet. There is noth­ing more stress­ful while driv­ing than hav­ing kids scream­ing and fight­ing in the back.’’

RAA mo­bil­ity and safety man­ager Wendy Be­van said ‘‘com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your chil­dren is im­por­tant’’ and play­ing games could be fun, but any ac­tiv­ity in the car should not dis­tract the driver.

Flin­ders Uni­ver­sity lit­er­acy ex­pert Bar­bara Nielsen said travel games could lift lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy skills.

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