KIDS ARE SMARTER; Computers boost their IQ.

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IRISH children are getting smarter thanks to the internet, computer

games and text messages on their mobile phones, scientists have said.

Statistics from Britain, the US and Holland have shown increased

intelligence in up to 20 per cent of the population since the early

1900s.

No official figures are available on IQ levels in Ireland, but

experts say they are definitely on the rise and a leading psychologist

is confident the same improvements are mirrored here.

Dr Marie Murray, director of psychology at St Vincent’s

Hospital in Dublin, said: “There is no doubt we are more mentally

stimulated than in the past.

“Television can have hugely beneficial effects, depending on

the content of the programme.

“Computer games are beneficial in that they train eye to hand

reaction times and may teach persistence as a child strives for the next

level of achievement.

“The more time spent honing game skills, the more likely it is

that a child’s visual and spatial skills will improve.

“In general, people now have access to more information than

previous generations might have had in a lifetime.”

Many parents argue their children are turning into mindless robots

who sit gazing at a screen instead of playing outside in the fresh air.

Dr Murray added: “Of course there are negative aspects. When

success in a video game depends on any act of violence, this ensures

that reward and violent activity are connected.

“Children can also be over- stimulated. The remote control era

can mean they never tolerate time alone or without stimulus. They can be

unable to sit quietly and observe, listen or reflect.

“The brain is like a muscle – IQ can rise but it can also fall

easily. We need to stay sharp to keep ourselves sharp. It’s a case

of use it or lose it.”

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