OCTOBER 20, 1999
Software to thwart hardened youngsters
By Laura Marshall
As the father of two young children, Sarathi "Srini" Srinivasan became
concerned when youth consistently began to make headlines for committing
major crimes. As president of Norcross-based Spectrum Software Inc.,
he decided to do something about it.
Through the Spectrum Multimedia division of his company, Srinivasan
produced a CD-ROM interactive series, "Dee Cee Dreams," which teaches
and reinforce values to children between ages 3 and 8. Using an animated
glow-worm narrator named Dee Cee, the software addresses principles
such as right and wrong, honesty, integrity, courage, tolerance, respect
"The major motivation almost a year and a half ago was all these shootings
happening, along with several kids trying to cheat Wal-Mart [at] the
cash register," said Srinivasan, 37.
While he admits there are many negative influences in the world which
can distort a child's ability to choose between right and wrong, Srinivasan
believes instilling values early can combat the outside forces. "If
you instill these values at a very young age - 3, 4, 5 years old - it
is easy to influence their thoughts," he said.
Drawing from experience with Vinay, his 5-year-old son, and Meghana,
his 21/2-year-old daughter, Srinivasan selected an easy-to-remember
name for Dee Cee. He chose the moniker as both a phonetic reversal of
CD and because it sounds like the letters many members of his target
audience are learning. According to a 1996 report by the American Medical
Association, children in the '90s spend twice as much time learning
from the media as they do from combined time with parents and teachers
Disturbed by the abundance of violent interactive games and deficiency
of ones which reinforce positive traits, Srinivasan is developing eight
additional products in the "Dee Cee Dreams" series to add to the recently
released first volume.
"Every CD comes with two stories and two activities," Srinivasan said.
"The first CD has one on friendship and one on honesty, both from traditional
Each story ends with a song and a game to reinforce the lesson. In the
game, children must decide between right and wrong choices to win. If
they choose incorrectly, the narrator points them in the right direction.
Additionally, each screen contains items the child can explore, like
hidden animations. Coloring is another option, either electronically
or by printing a hard copy of Dee Cee.
Srinivasan developed the software with so much child-friendliness in
mind, adults do not need to be present to supervise. A lock option prevents
the child from going to the wrong screen or erasing other programs on
the computer. Additionally, because children unable to read will be
using the program, a pointing hand directs youngsters to the next screen,
rather than words.
It is the hope of the successful entrepreneur that his product will
help make the world a better place.
"I have done very well, but I also feel like I would like to contribute
something back into society," Srinivasan said.
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