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Endangered Minds: Why Children Dont Think And What We Can Do About It
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Endangered Minds: Why Children Dont Think And What We Can Do About It

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  353 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Is today's fast-paced media culture creating a toxic environment for our children's brains?
In this landmark, bestselling assessment tracing the roots of America's escalating crisis in education, Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., examines how television, video games, and other components of popular culture compromise our children's ability to concentrate and to absorb and analyze inf
Paperback, 392 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Simon & Schuster (first published October 1st 1990)
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This book tells us alot of things we already know:

-TV is making our kids dumber (yes, including sesame street and pbs)

-ADHD is sweeping the nation because of the way we overindulge in TV, Video Games, consumer stuff, computers, and massive amounts of unhealthy food

-Reading is good, it WILL make kids smarter and not just with more facts, but with reasoning and life skills which go well beyond intellectualism.

-Real conversations are lacking from parents to children. These conversations are what w
"Endangered Minds" is an incredibly fascinating book with liberal streaks of alarmism. As I pride myself on my parenting paranoia, this book was right up my alley.
The first half of the book discusses the brain and how it grows and learns in children. I loved all of this information! It is amazing to me how intricate our brains our and how malleable and impressionable a child's brain is.
The rest of the book takes a detailed look at how media (television and video games in particular) are changing
I loved so many parts of this book and others I just, well didn't. Tbe first few chapters are fascinating as she explores child brain development. I gobbled it up! But it just seemed to drag on and become redundant. We get it, hours in front of TV= bad, reading to you kids= good. I found myself skimming some of the middle chapters because of this.
I think the author's goal was to show that kids are watching too much tv and playing too many video games, but the thing I kept getting from it (even t
I found this book to be quite enlightening, and yet disturbing all at the same time. I was fascinated with the research on the physiology of brain development, and the great impact environment plays in how our brain develops. The plasticity of brain development is remarkable, and gives such hope to all individuals. However, I fear that because of the trends of society, we are embarking on new territory in the field of educating the youth of tomorrow.

The ideas Healy presents in her book, althoug
I discovered Dr. Jane Healy's 1987 book, Endangered Minds, researching a novel I was writing on early man. I wanted to better understand what parts of our brain show significant evolution since our species appeared (like the increasing size of the frontal lobe, the evolution of the Wernecke and Broca areas). I admit, part of it was also that I was a new mother and there are so many competing opinions about when kids should read, write, what they should learn when, I didn't want to make a mistake ...more
Healy wrote a very prescient book in 1990 and revised it slightly for this edition in 1999, having seen most of her ideas validated by neuroscience in the succeeding decade. She is a welcome antidote to the raving rationalizations of Steven Johnson and Henry Jenkins and others who feel that electronic media are causing little or no damage to the minds of our children (those two have gone so far as to assert that electronic media are IMPROVING the minds of our youth, which the now repudiated Flyn ...more
It reads a bit like a college psych text sometimes, can be a bit repetitive, but overall, incredible content. To be more specific, incredible content that supports some of our personal parenting choices; so I like that. I could see some of my more mainstream mommy friends tell me that it is alarmist, but I think it is pretty straight-forward, and not intended to be alarmist. Some of the content is backed with hard scientific evidence, but a lot of it is opinion based... but on the opinions of su ...more
Emily Hunt Newton
Long but worth every chapter. Incredibly valuable research. Healy examines the effects of a changing culture upon children’s brains in the context of education: “We are rearing a generation of ‘different brains’ and…many students’ faltering academic skills…reflect subtle but significant changes in their physical foundations for learning” (45). Healy also addresses the double-edged sword of neural plasticity, and in light of our changing culture and the brain's adaptability, charges us with the t ...more
Very informative book. It's too dense with information, but on the back it highlights a few topics she discusses:

"How growing brains are physically shaped by experience."

"Why television programs - even supposedly educational shows like Sesame Street - develop 'habits of mind' that place children at a disadvantage in school."

"Why increasing numbers of children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder."

"How parents and teachers can make a critical difference by making children good learners f
This book was recommended last year at the literacy conference, and although it is not new, the information about brain development in children is still very relevant. I appreciated her frank discussion of the need to be sure that children of all ages are prepared for the verbal and numerical tasks set for them in school (or by overly ambitious parents) when they haven't had the proper preparation. She has strong opinions on when and how certain subjects should be taught, and as a teacher I felt ...more
With factors ranging as broadly as poverty, consumption of Nutrasweet, and watching television, it is difficult to know how to enact policy towards improving education based on Healy's recommendations. But it makes for an interesting read. At times Healy is very biased: anti-Sesame Street and subtly racist (referring to "non-native" speakers as "inferior. {Those who don't speak Algonquin?} But other times, I appreciate the sophistication of her thought such as discussing nature/nurture and left ...more
This took me forever to read! I wanted to be engrossed. The subject is fascinating but there was so much speculation and theorizing with admittedly scant research. I was looking for ideas for how to help my kids think more deeply and effectively but only the last few chapters discussed possible solutions and much of it was still speculative theorizing. This was also written more for educators and less for parents. I felt like this was a call to action with definite opinions as to why but not a l ...more
While this book was written over 20 years ago, it was ahead of its time. Much of what's in the book still apply today. The big difference is that there are now scientific evidence that prove the author's premise on the various topics tackled. The book is largely based on research and opinions of experts. It includes an engaging discussion on the developing brain, ways to harness its development, impact of TV/video games to a child and criticisms (and suggestions) on educational practices, among ...more
Kristy Hill
This book is scary, but it does offer some hope. Our brains are changing to account for a fast-paced, in your face, instant access world. Kids are getting harder and harder to reach, partly because schools aren't adapting their instruction, partly because parents are relying on electronic entertainment, partly because they are smarter than we are.
I really enjoyed this book, and it really got me thinking. However, when I got to the last chapter, the author starts with the assumption that we can't get parents to change the way they parent, therefore it all up the schools. As a parent, I'm slightly offended by that. Nonetheless, I kept going.

I've got to think more about what really bothers me about her suggestions for the future of schooling, but there is something there that really bothers me down deep. I got sidetracked by this and have s
Anne Thistlethwaite
Very good. But if you want ignorance is bliss, skip it. It's pretty convincing.
Emily Maurek
This book is absolutely a MUST READ for any parent, teacher, caregiver, and grandparent. I know that we live is a "nation of fear" (another good read) but this book is not preachy or shock-jock in it's delivery -- just straightforward scientific hypothesis, research and sociology.

Endangered Minds was recommended to me by a noted music psychologist, teachers, and researcher Dr.John Feierabend and I thank him. We've made changes already in our parenting and home environment. I am also looking at
Healy's premise is that children spend so much time watching tv, instead of actively playing/learning, that it actually changes the physiology of their brains; therefore they find it incredibly difficult to engage in higher level thinking. whoa! It seemed a little out there, but I kept reading and found that I learned a lot and found myself agreeing with her on many points. Controversial and provacative, but based on sound scientific research--it is definitely worth the read.
Jun 13, 2008 Connie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with kids
Recommended to Connie by: Jen
This book came into my life just in time! Written by an educator, it gives scientific backing as to how brain development is effected by television and video games (especially the young brain.) It also stresses the importance of really experiencing life! It is probably one of the more important books I have ever read. But be prepared the book is thick, and filled with information.
This book is giving me LOTS to think about. Makes me even more glad to not have my kids in public school. And it's not just about TV and video games (although those do play a role). The best thing you can do for your kids is TALK to them. About everything. Ask them questions, discuss life, answer their questions. I really liked the Sesame Street chapter.
Fascinating. Isn't really telling you a whole lot you don't already suspect, but I enjoyed the tidbits of neuroscience backup it up. It could use some updating given it was written in 1991 (so I can't even imagine that the amount of "screen time" kids were getting then could compare to today's iphone zombies) but in many ways, it feels current anyway.
I need to re-read this. I remember being struck by a key message from this book, namely, that we should be just as concerned about how TV is presented to kids and their developing brains (quick cuts, short attention spans, a decidedly passive "activity," etc.) as we are about the content of what is presented (violence, sex, other mature themes, etc.)
Rebecca Esposito
I really enjoyed this book. I love books about brain development and especially ones that make practical connections. So much of what Healy describes in her book is what I have seen in my classroom. It was fascinating to me how we are changing brain development with our technology overload and not necessarily in a good way.
This was an excellent, informative book. What really struck me was the relevancy of the information considering that the book was published in 1990. The only part I didn't agree with was the author's passionate endorsement of whole language. This book so intrigued me that I intend to read more of Jane Healy's books.
The author causes you to think about how television, video games, and other popular culture is possibly limiting children's minds and putting them at a disadvantage. It is definitely thought-provoking, but it is not based on validated research. However, I think it is still something good to think about.
Gave me some things to think about especially with the kind of entertainment my family participates in and the way we talk to our children. The science was not always there to support the ideas, but the ideas were good and it wouldn't hurt anything to follow the advice.
A little dated, and the style is a bit too informal. But - a great read that helps explain many of the cognitive issues that we face in our classrooms and that should serve as a caution to parents about mindless TV and video watching.
The information is a little dated, which made her cautions about technology and computer use seem somewhat unrealistic. That said, between the horror stories and vague prescriptions, there was quite a bit worth considering.
What an eye-opener for parents, teachers, and anyone else who is concerned with how today's youth is processing information, their education, and what we can do to help! A must read for at least parents and teachers!!!
Maria Guzman
Even though this was written in the 90s, every teacher and parent should read it. As a teacher it gives me hope about being able to help my students learn; the ever plastic brain, I love it!
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“How can children bombarded from birth by noise, frenetic schedules, and the helter-skelter caretaking of a fast-paced adult world learn to analyze, reflect, ponder? How can they use quiet inner conversation to build personal realities, sharpen and extend their visual reasoning?” 4 likes
“if you can help the youngster (or adult!) develop more confidence, positive emotional response, and intrinsic motivation, you may see amazing results, since the brain’s emotional centers are so intimately involved in priming circuits for learning.” 0 likes
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