Computer Education And Its Interference On Children’s Growth
Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.
 
“In June 2004, Dr. Lai delivered four talks in the North, Central and South Taiwan.  During her stay in Taiwan, she had discussions with people from the academic field.  They talked about the roles of computer education on children, Dr. Lai indicated that modern people are receiving increasing amount of information, yet they do not have a clear understanding of the impact of electromagnetic waves on the electromagnetic field of a human body.   The emphasis Dr. Lai placed was not on how to prevent the radiation from computer; instead, she provided an analysis on the adverse effect of computer on children’s growth based on Rudolf Steiner’s concept of education which is now quite widely recognised.  Dr. Lai’s views are very different from those of the modern trend; however, if we think carefully about how we grew up before computer was widely used, her reasoning seems to be quite plausible, and hence it is worthwhile for parents and the education policy makers to give consideration to her analysis.”
 
Rudolf Steiner’s Education Concept As a Reference
Generally, under the Rudolf Steiner’s education system, children under 14 years of age do not have contact with the computers and nor watch TV. This is because the first two years after birth is usually the period when a baby’s brain grow at the fastest rate, while brain cells are mostly formed for a seven-year old.  During this period, exposure to TV and computer will interfere with the natural development of brain cells.  Thus, the design of Rudolf Steiner’s education pays attention to observing the different stimulations needed during the different stages of growth.  After the growing years, watching television is still minimal even for educational purpose.
 
Rudolf Steiner’s education specifically emphasizes holistic education of body, mind and spirit.  To train the best scientists, the children are not fed with technical knowledge in their early stages of growth.  Instead, the children must first be taught how to think and observe, and then through observations, gain understanding and hence solve problems.  For instance, to teach children about plants, it is not done by bringing in the plants to show the children, but rather children are brought to the environment to observe the plants in their natural habitat.  And for an example, understanding a particular flower has a specific colour is because the soil contains more of certain types of mineral. This allows the children to understand that plants cannot be separated from their living environment. When children are taught to observe, they will have the ability to solve problems as well as the ability to think.
 
So the Rudolf Steiner education style is different from the general education system.  The Rudolf Steiner education does not use text-books, the children write their own textbooks. The teaching tries to relate what is taught to OUR daily life and the nature.  When the children learn geography, they are taught to start by drawing their homes first, and then draw the entire living environment, this way the children will understand that a map is connected with real life.  The teaching of mathematics involves exercising different parts of the body, so the children really enjoy school.
 
The Rudolf Steiner School in North California of U.S.A. has collaborated with some of the local schools in the area in conducting an experiment: it was documented that students from the schools in some of the poor areas skip school frequently.  So these schools changed their style of education.  Instead of feeding the children with too much knowledge in one shot, they start the day by singing, dancing and doing other physical exercises and enjoying the rhythm, children are also given breathing space.  Given these new programmes, the children stopped skipping classes because they are really having fun at school.  Starting from very young days, children are guided by the Rudolf Steiner School to learn about food, starting from planting to harvesting to finally cooking the harvest in soup or learning about how bread is made, and so on.  The teaching is very practical and relates closely to daily living.
 
How is the performance of the children trained under this kind of education method compared to students from other schools?  Germany has the largest number of Rudolf Steiner schools.  Students in Germany must pass a national university entrance test to enroll into a university, and students trained under the Rudolf Steiner system have the highest acceptance rate.  After they graduate, they tend to care more for the society and the environment and they are also more warm-hearted.  In choosing career, most of them choose to work in a service-oriented industry.  So, academically these children are competitive with students from other schools.
 

Physical Body, Etheric Body and Astral Body
Do Not Be Overly Enthusiastic towards Children’s Growth and End Up Harming Them

In fact, there is a basis to this system of education.  In the growth of human’s physical body, mind and spirit, there are seven years to each stage; the four stages of growth are the physical body, etheric body (气体), astral body (星芒体) and ego body (意识体).  The education must be geared towards the needs and stages of growth of a child.  The teaching must be designed accordingly, and absolutely not be given forcefully such that the child’s future ability is overdrawn.  The physical body is born first, whereas the etheric body is born when a child is seven years old.  So children below the age of seven have weak etheric body and overusing of brain is not suitable.  If their etheric body is overdrawn at this stage, it is equal to overdrawing their energy for physical formation, which will harm their energy when they grow old.  This is why child prodigies often die young!
 
There was a gifted child from Taiwan who went to study music in the U.S.  Later, his fingers stiffen and could no longer play piano.  Ultimately, he even lost his ability to walk.  That was because his etheric body was overdrawn too early, causing his limbs to harden.  That was why Rudolf Steiner had stated long ago, “Never draw on a child’s energy prematurely, because that will affect his future.”
 
Spectrograph (光谱儀) may be used to detect how strong or weak one’s etheric body is.  Muscle testing has been done to a child sitting in front of a computer, the spectrograph has shown that his energy is lowered.  In other words, computer learning hinders the growth of etheric body, and thus is not suitable for children in primary school.  Seven to fourteen years old is the key stage for character  formation.  Children should be taught to learn to respect their teachers.  With Waldof’s training, children will have respect in all aspects of life.  And when they grow older, they will generate a mind of gratitude and repayment.
 
The astral body is born when one is 14 years old.  Astral body is the body of our feelings and emotions; it can be nourished by colours. A lot of our emotional memories are stored in the astral body. It is also at this stage that children experience changes in emotions, which is the so called adolescence. The same person, interacting with non-living object versus interacting with a loving teacher, the outcome is different. Nowadays, many children are cold and detached, that is because they frequently interact with machines in their growing years. So in future, most people will tend to be indifferent. They are full of information but yet are unable to care for those around them. Being equipped with lots of information does not mean that the person is wise or has the ability to understand things!
 

The Negative Impact of EMF
Human Beings’ Electromagnetic Fields Are Affected

Dr. Robert Becker, a pioneer in the field of bio-electromagnetic, originally conducted research on lower animals – the reproductive ability of salamander.  From this experiment, he confirmed that electromagnetic waves have influence on plants, animals and all living things.  He also noticed the impact of electromagnetic waves on human and conducted further studies on electromagnetic fields of human bodies.  In his book titled “Body Electric,” he mentioned that human body is in itself the largest bio-electromagnetic field; for instance, from electrocardiogram of the heart and brain waves, we can see that the functioning of our body (such as the growth of bones) is controlled by bioelectricity.
 
There are two ways of our body can receive messages from the universe, one way is through knowing it is day time or night time. The other way is through perceiving the magnetic waves of the earth; pineal gland has the function of receiving the earth’s magnetic fields.  Because the earth’s magnetic fields varies between day and night, the functioning of human brain also differs in day and at night, the secretion of hormones, etc. are all related to magnetic fields. When the electromagnetic waves in the environment is stronger than that of the earth, our pineal gland will not be able to receive the message from the universe for the proper body functioning.  Modern people get interferences both ways, that is why many people get day and night upside down and live a disordered lifestyle.
 
When his book was first published, many readers responded to Dr. Becker by sharing their experiences.  Initially, Dr. Becker thought that the readers were overly nervous because some of them told him that, “I had to move very faraway to a country that does not have electricity.”  Later, it turns out that there are increasing number of people who are very sensitive to electricity.  A friend of mine, whenever he stood in front of a refrigerator, his whole body would shiver; some people even had to hide away to a remote place in North California in order to survive.  This indicates that they had been overly exposed to electromagnetic waves such that the protective system of the entire body has broken down.  Even though such cases are not so serious that diseases are present, but they are crippled. And because all the body secretions have been interfered, ultimately this will lead to cancer.
 

Cancer, Pain, Unusual Diseases
EMF as a Silent Killer

Recently I received calls from three parents in Toronto.  Their children are suffering from leukemia; this is because they have always faced computers whenever they are at school.  Some children may not feel it, but some children are by nature more sensitive. In such situations, computers are doubtlessly the killer.  One child came down with leukemia when he was only over one year old.  I asked the parents if they had used cellular phones or any similar types of products, they said, “Because we have been very busy with our business, so our child spends days and nights watching TV.”
 
So we have to consider the electromagnetic waves that we have been sending out, perhaps most people are fine, but some people are very sensitive.  Those children who are more sensitive, they either end up being sensitive to EMFs or get cancer or depressed or hyperactive.  Our adrenal gland system functions to anti-stress.  Any kind of electricity or electromagnetic field would cause the adrenal gland to automatically react as responding to stress.   So over a long period of time, the adrenal gland become suppressed or will breakdown, leading to a lower functioning ability or emotional swings.
 
In their growing stage, children may be extremely sensitive to external interferences because some of their organs have not fully developed.  There is a school in Santa Barbara, USA, in which the students’ cancer rates have been documented to be relatively high.  Finally, it was found out that the school is located next to a high voltage power station, and the children have been harmed.  Then what condition is considered safe?  Generally, research shows that there is a significant negative interference when EMF exceeds one milligauss. In fact, more subtle interferences can be felt even under one milligauss; people who have had injuries tend to be more sensitive to it.
 
Once I gave a talk in San Francisco, my seat was close to the power pole outside, the EMF was ten milligauss. I did not know about it then. Later I felt severe pain all over my body, the pain lasted for 4 to 5 hours, and the pain on the left side of my body remained for about 3 weeks.  This experience has led me to understand why modern people keep experiencing aches and pain on different parts of their bodies.  After an injury, even though electromagnetic waves may not be detected in some parts of the house, but when passing by areas that have electricity, the injured part would feel painful, as if it has become a detector.  That is why some of those children who have weaker energy field, even if they are in a place with less than one milligauss of electromagnetic waves, they still feel very sensitive.
 

An Environment with Strong EMF is Not Beneficial for Writing and Thinking and It Depletes Creativity

Furthermore, being in an environment with higher EMF, people tend to have less intuition and creativity.  A child growing up in an environment with relatively high electromagnetic waves definitely has minimal creativity.  I have an unforgettable experience.  I once stayed in a house that had about one milligauss of electricity.  Next to that house was a high current line, which actually had only about 1/1000 or 2/1000 Gauss, but I really suffered.  I felt extremely tired and could not even write any article.  I had no choice but tried to write articles in a park, but the quality of those articles was not good.  Usually, when we talk about the culture of a place, we do not just refer to the money or other products, but it also includes the arts, poetry and other things of creativity.
 
From another perspective, the Rudolf Steiner method is quite useful.  This education system is very strict in selecting their teachers.  The teachers’ state of mind and other aspects must be considered. When the teachers spend time with the children, even without verbal communication, the teachers are virtually leading the children and enhancing their advancement.  Therefore education cannot be replaced by machines.  Just like a mother breastfeeding a baby, she is not only supplying the nutrient from her physical body, the milk also consists of the mother’s characters and love, and these are indeed very real things.
 
In the U.S., there is a farmer called Bob, he said that to be a good farmer, the most important thing is to spend 1/10 of his time everyday in sending good intentions to the plants.  Even the growth of plants responds to good intentions, let alone the children?!  You can also try placing two pots of plants, one next to a computer and the other one next to a loving person, and see which plant grows better. Plants also have etheric body.  For example, some plants appear to have grown very well, but after you have eaten them, not only that you do not get good health but they actually bring you sickness. Why is this so?  Because the soil lacks energy and so do the plants.  So when we eat these plants, we will also lack energy. I heard that there is a forest district in which people recover from illnesses after they move into the area. This is actually true if the nature and plants have not been harmed, then when you go there, you can be naturally healed.
 

Brain Wave Tests Reveal the Truth
The ß Waves of Criticism and Antagonism

These cases can actually be displayed through specific electrocardiogram or brain waves.  Children below 14 years old mostly have alpha waves, while most adults have beta waves. Alpha waves, which is a wave that is very calm and appreciates others, have a frequency of 8 -10Hz.  These waves are similar to the waves released by the earth.  For those who have trauma and want to self-heal, they will need to keep their brain waves at the alpha waves. Kids who play a lot with computer mostly have beta waves, which have a frequency of 55-60Hz.  These waves are closer to the waves of criticism and antagonism which are not good for self-healing.  Why do modern people having sleep problems?  And some children using computer in the day time also do not sleep well at night.  This is because the level of brain waves was raised due to stimulation, so it is harder to enter the sleeping state.  According to Steiner, when we are asleep, the astral body and ego body are separated from our physical body and etheric body.  This way our etheric body does not get interfered, and during this time the astral body can travel to the universe for recharge; this is why people generally feel happy after they wake up from sleep, because they have just been recharged.
 

Develop a Harmless Computer
A Perspective for Reducing Pollution

Most of the electromagnetic waves of the computers nowadays are microwaves, which are very harmful to people.  The reason that microwaves are adopted is due to the low cost.  Consider designing magnetic waves that are closer to those of human body, for example, infrared or other magnetic waves.
 
Given the fact that the contemporary radio waves are very harmful to people, if Taiwan can develop wireless computers that are harmless to people, that will be truly beneficial to the environment, the nation and economic development.
 
Synergy, a company in Moab, Utah in the U.S., is a socially responsible company.  When the company was building its factory, it minimized any damages to the land. They first moved away nature plants for park restoration projects and landscaped with drought-enduring plants. For cleaning agent, they choose products that use non-pollutanting substances; for lighting facilities they use motion-sensing light; the ingredients used for their products are all high in energy, and they used wind power to generate electricity. They gave thorough considerations to all aspects.  Although their costs are a little higher, but because many people are looking for socially responsible companies, their growth rates have been higher than other businesses in the same industry. From the long-run standpoint, the other businesses in the same industry may not be able to survive, because when people get sick, they will definitely look for things that are good for their health and will stop using ordinary products.  All these are only economical in the short run.  For economics purpose, a sustainable economy should be adopted, and only harmless products can be a long-lasting business.
 
Note: 
Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was born in Austria.   He thought that education must incorporate the natural qualities of human life.  In accordance with the child’s different stages of body, emotional and spiritual growth, the teacher assists in the maturing of the physical, emotional and spiritual levels.  The child’s creativity is stimulated through such education in arts, architecture, agriculture, medical, science & arts, sociology and economics, etc.
 
Since 1919, Dr. Steiner assisted entrepreneur, Emil Molt, in establishing the first “Waldorf School” in Stuttgart, Germany.  Henceforth, his education concept has become a pioneering trend.  Today in more than 50 countries, there are over 640 Waldorf schools (a coherent system from primary school to high school), 1087 kindergartens and childcare centres, and 60 teachers training and research institutions.
 
This education system gives different emphasis that depends on the physical and mental state of maturity of children and teenagers.
 
Physical maturity: from 0 to 7 years old, a child needs physical and will-power development.  Under a warm, safe, natural and nice environment, along with a disciplined lifestyle, a child gets to grow healthy and develop the basic ability to explore the world.
 
Emotional maturity: for children between 7 to 14 years old, the education system emphasises spiritual, emotional and a imaginative space. This stage requires an authoritative and qualified person for the child to trust, rely on and respect on a long term basis. Through an artistic education, the child’s inner desire for learning is triggered, so that the child is full of confidence, interests and the feeling of security toward life.  Under such a psychological basis, and through the process of learning to help each other and hands-on practice, the child learns to develop compassion, tolerance, cooperation and feelings and love towards the society.
 
Spiritual maturity: For teenagers from 14 to 21 years old, the education places emphasis on inspiring teenager’s spirituality and thinking. Teenage years are a rebellious stage; the teenagers have a dynamic life force and are full of emotions. This is the period for the development of individual judgment and consciousness for independent thinking. The teacher plays the role of a friend and through a healthy teacher-student interactions, the teenager is inspired to develop further interests and explorations on the world and the civilization of mankind.
 

Extracted from Lapis Lazuli Light Magazine 2004 Nov Issue
Translated by Lapis Lazuli Light Singapore