Computers have simply become an unavoidable part of everyday life. Both at school and in the home, a computer can be a useful educational tool that can enhance a child's learning. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of computer usage can help parents determine how much screen time is appropriate for their children.
To ensure a child's safety while using the computer, it's best if parents are computer literate themselves. Sharing an email account with a child and teaching him about appropriate online behavior are ways that you can help protect your child. If you have a shared family computer, experts suggest leaving it in a common area of the home, where children can be closely monitored. Should your child report any uncomfortable or threatening messages while he is online, document these situations and report them to your Internet provider.
Benefits of Computer Use
In a world that's increasingly reliant on computers, the integration of technology into school classrooms is on the rise. Children benefit from computer usage in the classroom by learning basic skills and keyboarding, as well as enjoying programs that enhance their curriculum. Computer skills are also essential for future generations entering the workforce. When you use age-appropriate media alongside your children and ask questions related to the content, you are encouraging the idea of technology as a collaborative tool, suggests "Parents" magazine.
Potential Physical Problems
Prolonged usage of computers can lead to repetitive stress injuries, according to KidsHealth.org. When too much stress is placed on a child's joints, conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis may result, causing discomfort. To avoid repetitive stress injuries, make a computer workspace child-friendly by providing child-sized chairs, desks or monitors. Reminding your child to sit up straight when at a computer can prevent stress on your little one's spine, while encouraging him to take frequent breaks to stretch or move can prevent a repetitive stress injury.
When children are at home, spend time with them online and learn about their favorite website destinations. You may choose to set bookmarks of your child's favorite pages for easy access. Your Internet service provider may have a parental control option that keeps unwanted material from view, while filtering programs can block certain websites and keep personal information private. You may also set rules for your child's computer usage and insist that they be followed to ensure your child's safety, suggests KidsHealth.org.
- KidsHealth: Computer-Related Repetitive Stress Injuries
- KidsHealth: Internet Safety
- HealthyChildren.org: How Much Attention Kids Pay to Media Is Associated with Obesity
- HealthyChildren.org: Cyberbullying
- HealthyChildren.org: Social Networking, the New E-mail
- KidsHealth: Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games and the Internet
- Parents: Is Technology Good for Little Kids?
- Politics Daily: Are Computers Really Bad For Kids?