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Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It
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Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  416 Ratings  ·  53 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, 384 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Simon & Schuster (first published October 1st 1990)
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Apr 03, 2008 Bob rated it really liked it
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
Dec 22, 2009 Ami rated it really liked it
"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
Aug 14, 2009 Kristi rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2010 Jacqui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
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
May 20, 2009 Nicole rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it
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
Aug 18, 2010 Cathleen rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2013 Emily Hunt Newton rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 26, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
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
Jan 05, 2009 Donna rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Goebel
Dec 04, 2016 Sarah Goebel rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, parenting
i learned of this title via janet lansbury's 'unruffled' podcast interview with the folks. incredibly interesting but badly in need of a re-publishing with updates. even though, it still needs to be widely read. it comes to mind that we're likely in the political situation we find ourselves in because of what this book describes as a decline in critical thinking skills being taught since the 60s/70s. again, fascinating - not just for parents.

Jul 24, 2014 Doni rated it liked it
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
Sep 14, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: educational
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
Jun 01, 2013 JA rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2013 Rachael rated it liked it
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
Emily Maurek
Apr 15, 2009 Emily Maurek rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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.
Rebecca The Files of Mrs. E,
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.
Jun 13, 2008 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Kristy Hill
May 29, 2014 Kristy Hill rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 19, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
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.
Jul 10, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
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.)
Feb 09, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 01, 2013 yana rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 04, 2009 Nikita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!
Jan 01, 2010 Kellie rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 18, 2012 Kim rated it liked it
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.
Dec 27, 2010 Brett rated it really liked it
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.
Laura Crawford
Jun 09, 2012 Laura Crawford rated it liked it
A very dense book about how children think and why teachers see certain behaviors in class. Couldn't read in one setting - so much information at once. Take it in small bites and chew slowly.
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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?” 6 likes
“Our society is becoming increasingly aliterate, says Cullinan. “An aliterate is a person who knows how to read but who doesn’t choose to read. These are people who glance at the headlines of a newspaper and grab the TV schedule. They do not read books for pleasure, nor do they read extensively for information. An aliterate is not much better off than an illiterate, a person who cannot read at all. Aliterates miss the great novels of the past and present. They also miss probing analyses written about political issues. Most aliterates watch television for their news, but the entire transcript of a television newscast would fill only two columns of the New York Times. Aliterates get only the surface level of the news.”13” 6 likes
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