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msh's avatar

Is it better to let kids create pictures on a computer screen only, or is it important for them to experience certain types of artistic mediums?

Asked by msh (4262points) September 8th, 2015 from iPhone

I have noticed a trend with people who have smaller children. I see a lot of parents giving their child a computerized screen with which they tell them to ‘draw’ or ‘paint’ some pictures using only the screen and keying or fingerswipes across the screen as their means to do so. While talking in general to the parent(s), I was amazed at how many stated that they did not want to deal with the cleaning up of any messy art project their child ‘would’ get on the work area, the floor, the pets, and most vehemently, their child. ‘Clean up’ was the answer most given as to why they avoided any other medium.
I can understand keeping a child busy while out in public; ‘to keep them occupied’, but this seemed to be status quo at their homes also. It has stayed in my mind as to whether we are raising kids in such a sterile way that any creativity or artistic discovery with the ‘messy’, yet creativly more expressive part of trying different ways to create is being taken out of the kid’s experiences altogether.
Is it better for kids to just have the screened expression or should the parents get a grip on the obsessive /compulsive neat freak trend?
As an aside: some schools are not putting Art Class experience in their curriculums due to the rigors of teaching reading and writing for testing and skill-building purposes….in Pre-K and Kindergarten through 4th grade levels.
What are we leaving out of the kid’s life experiences by these changes?
Or does it even matter?

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18 Answers

longgone's avatar

I think that matters a great deal and should not be encouraged. Children need the tactile experience different paints give them. Hence the invention of finger paints and play-dough. If I didn’t allow children to make a mess, ever, I’d consider that child abuse. Children need the freedom to create…and to destroy.

msh's avatar

Remember fingerpainting? A glob of tempra (?) paint on a big shiny piece of paper? It was great gooshing and swirling around into something you created to take home to your parents? What fun!
The destroy part- yyyyeeeesssss!

johnpowell's avatar

I am horrible at art. I am also a perfectionist. So one tiny mistake and I would toss the paper when I would try to draw or paint by hand. Generally, I would get frustrated and give up and throw rocks at my neighbors house instead.

Then I found Photoshop and TrueSpace in high school. Awesome, I could fix my mistakes in a few keystrokes. I make tons more original stuff now than I ever would have if I was stuck with a pen and paper. And a few thousand trees have been saved.

zenvelo's avatar

The actual use of crayons or pencils or brushes or anything else will wire the brain differently, every different action (coloring, cutting with scissors) creates new neural pathways.

janbb's avatar

Just as learning two languages as a young child facilitates brain plasticity, exploring and manipulating various media will engage children and increase their mental and physical flexibility. Besides it’s more fun. I deplore the diminishment of the “specials” in favor of teaching to the test.

jca's avatar

I think it goes without saying and for a parent to be rigid about it is foolish.

ucme's avatar

One word, crayons

Mimishu1995's avatar

Giving the child the computer will teach them to be dependent on computers. And beside, sitting next to computer screens doesn’t happen to be the best things for children’s developing eyes.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think exposing kids to as broad a variety of learning experiences as possible is the best approach. I don’t have problem with drawing apps, as long as they also have plenty of opportunities to get their hands dirty too. I’m an iOS developer in my spare time, and when I have kids I plan to limit “screen time” pretty heavily. I know several high profile CEOs from tech companies had strict policies about screen time for their kids (including Steve Jobs).

Pachy's avatar

Computer drawing, cool as it might be, can never replicate the tactile pleasure of a crayon or paint brush in hand, or for that matter, a glob of paint on the finger or in the whole hand.

Cruiser's avatar

Art supplies can be expensive and many poorer families cannot afford that kind of expense. Also many school districts are strapped for cash and art programs are some of the first to go to cut expenses. So for many kids, dabbling in drawing programs on their computer may be their only creative outlet.

kritiper's avatar

Yes, within reason.

Zaku's avatar

It makes my skin crawl to think of parents ONLY offering computer art. Yikes! I think as many media as possible should be offered, including as many traditional art materials as possible, plus natural ones such as dirt, plants, beach sand, dry sand, mud, water…

The only one that comes to mind to not offer at first would be video screens. They’ll get far too much of that later. No need to encourage it.

Silence04's avatar

art + computers is very much the future, as well as the present. There is nothing wrong with children of today only knowing digital art. If a tablet is used, that skill is easily transferable to almost any other medium.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

As an artist, I will go out on the limb and say if there was the opportunity to provide live art but the only reason for not doing it was to avoid the mess, I would say that was lazy parenting, somewhat like telling a kid to do some Wii bowling instead of doing actual bowling or ball tossing with them because you might have to sweat a little. Too many kids are to stationary today as it is. You cannot preplace learning actual brush control by way of computer. What will happen if they ever have to actually paint something? Will they know how the paint will stroke or cover something in the real world? Would they know how to paint without drips or sags? Would they know how different a transparent medium like watercolors act over an opaque one like oils by just computer art alone? That is not even getting to working in clay, wood, or even Papier-mâché. Art fused with computers might be the next wave, but will it be as durable and indelible in the world’s art psyche as the charcoal drawings of De Vinci, or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo? I guess time will tell, but I will be long gone when it happens.

keobooks's avatar

My kid dies both kinds. One advantage to digital is that it’s easy to send it to relatives overseas or long distance. It’s also nice to take to doctors appointments in the waiting rooms.

Jillybean's avatar

I love to see a picture done by a child displayed on the fridge door!! Give them crayons, chalk, paint etc. and let their imaginations go!! Let their canvases be paper, cardboard, rocks, boards etc. The world still needs creativity not just technology!

ibstubro's avatar

When I think about art as a kid, the smell is more intense than any one visual.
Modeling clay
I think art should involve as many senses as possible for a child.

It’s great that digital works so well for @johnpowell, but I would argue that that is because he learned all the other sensory details as a kid.

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