Like most things, if done in moderation, it can't be bad for you.
I'm a single mother of four children under 8 years of age. While we don't own a Playstation (or anything like it) we do have a computer hooked up to Broadband and I do let the children use it at their leisure. We have screeds of DVDs and videos and, yes, I let them watch them too, at their leisure. They get to watch the children's programmes in the mornings (if we aren't out the door racing off to different activities) and they get to watch the family movies (tasteful and not misleading). Occassionally they watch the odd epsiode of Supernanny or that vet programme that used to be on (and the like). And yes, my oldest child, an 8 year old girl, also likes watching Shortland Street. She is very dramatic, loves being on stage and I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up with a part in Shortland Street. And to be honest I don't think it's harming any of their brains. As a mum, it is my responsibility to monitor what they watch or play, how long they do it for and provide them with an alternative.
Yes, they are learning when they are playing computer games and watching TV. My five year old son is a confident PC user. Now, at 5, I wouldn't have known what a PC was. They are extending their imagination and their sense of humour. They are being inspired by some great characters. They are, in a sense, broadening their horizons through their computer games and TV. Some Walt Disney movies have really good "values" and having incorporated some of Supernanny's rules in our home, Jo Frost has become our friend (if not my Idol!!!!). It isn't all that bad!!
However, there is another side to the coin. There are those that will play and watch until their eyes hurt. Day in and day out. And they aren't watching or playing "warm and fuzzy" things either. It's all blood and guts and gore. Unnecessary violence that is out there in the community, in the newspapers, on the radio and on the news. Why have games and TV to further expose them to the great tragedies that happen in real life? I cannot see how this could be good for your brain. Unless that is the sort of person you want to become or create.
There is so much more to being quick on a remote control and channel surfing. In order to be a well-rounded, stable human being, you need to dabble in a variety of experiences. Reading a book is a skill that we need to learn in life. Trips to the library or the museum. Nature walks outside. Swimming in the ocean. Going on a bush walk. Taking the bus instead of the car. Biking. Climbing a tree. Painting the fence. Kicking a ball around. Having a pillow fight. Jumping in puddles. Doing a rain dance. And, you know, at 30 years of age, I'm not too old to do any of these things.
So, I will say it again. If done in moderation, it can't hurt you. As long as there is variety, good positive role modelling and love and nurturing, we can't go wrong.