Well, I hate to break it to them but, it’s 2015 and well, if you don’t teach them how to use a computer now, you could be setting them up for failure later. Especially considering we live in a very digital and computerized world. Plus, the statistics below prove that children who are introduced to computers and technology early on excel in academics.
Before I go into the some of the advantages and benefits of young kids, and even toddlers, being allowed to play on the computer, let me first say that each parent has their own right to make the decision for themselves, have their own beliefs and have their own reasons as to why their child should or should not be allowed on the computer. I just want to make it clear at the beginning of this post that I would respect your opinion either way… as there are many pros and cons to the subject. Please be sure to post your thoughts in a comment below because I would love to hear why you would or would not let your child on the computer at a young age.
My Story of Miss K Being on the Computer…
Miss K just turned 4 years old a few months ago and she can already use the computer better than her daddy can! Right after she turned 3 we started letting her on the computer (Mind you, it started out as an incentive to get hair brushing to go more smoothly.) After about two weeks of her using my laptop I had to keep it put up... or else I would walk in the room and she would be on it. Miss K is a very fast learner and once you show her something one or two times she has it down pat and it’s all progression from there.
Of course, many people didn’t believe that Miss K had a first grade reading level at the age of 3 or, that she could boot up my computer and go to a specific site with no help at all. When friends and family see her do this for the first time (even now that she is 4 years old), they are shocked. Meanwhile, I sit back with that smirk on my face that says “I told you so!” A few of them however, didn’t think this was such a good idea.
Of course, I do see and respect both sides of the fence… The side where kids should be allowed to play on the computer and, the side where kids on the computer can be very dangerous and also, create bad habits that could affect things such as their health, personality and other characteristics. I am a firm believer that their computer time should be monitored, accounted for and limited to ensure they are not being exposed to the wrong sites/content and that they don’t become computer-junkies.
So, why should you let your young children on the computer? Here’s 4 reasons you should let your toddler, preschooler and children on the computer at a young age…
#1. Online Educational Games, Videos and WebsitesUnlike most video game consoles for the TV, computers offer thousands and thousands of free online games for children. You can find a variety of online educational games for toddlers, preschoolers and smaller children that offer different areas of academic skills and social and mental development. All of which are a great reason to let your child play on the computer.
#2. Inspire Their Creativity
Aside from developing academic skills and social development, letting your child play on the computer will let them explore their creative side. A lot of online toddler and preschool games consist of art and storytelling themes which will allow them to get in touch with their own creativity and help develop their own little personalities and discover new things they like and adore.
#3. Reward Them
While I don’t believe children should be rewarded for every single little thing they do (or else they will always expect something in return), I do believe that having a reward system in place for good grades, chores and the occasional special treat. Computer time for small children is a great way to reward them for a job well done. Each parent will have to make their own decision of how much is too much. I let Miss K play for about an hour a day. Other parents allow an hour a week. The how much part will be up to you. I allow her to play for an hour a day because not only is it her “computer time”, it’s also her educational time. (One of many of course, but she doesn’t see this as educational / study time… it’s fun time!).
#4. Computer Natives Excel!
Now, for the main reason we should let our children play computers…As I mentioned earlier, we live in a very digital and computerized world. Everything seems to be going to a hard drive instead of a hard copy. Even books- who would have ever thought, right? In home computers didn’t even exist when I was a child. (I was born in the 80’s so, for those of you thinking I’m just way too old and old-fashioned, you’re wrong.)
These days, even the school districts are pushing technology at our children. Why? Because their job is to teach our children things they need to know to be successful in life and well, knowing how to use a computer is a guaranteed must. Laptops, tablets and similar devices are all being handed to kids of all ages at school and they are being made to use them. My nieces received tablets in elementary school in exchange for heavy books that had to be carted back and forth between classes, home and school. The tablets were not only easier to keep up with but, they helped alleviate back problems, expensive costs associated with schools purchasing new books every couple of years, and teaching children the importance of value and keeping up with things. (Luckily, the school districts get a great deal on the tablets, most are less than the cost of a typical science textbook and the books are cheaper when up loaded on the devices rather than paying for the physical copies.)
Technology is everywhere! You are using it as you read this post. Even cars have rather advanced computer systems in them these days to allow you to add apps to your vehicles (that’s a-whole-nother post for another day!). But seriously, what I’m getting to is technology is all around us and it won’t be going anywhere any time soon. The sooner we teach our kids how to use it, the better they will do in school and life in general.
Plus, if that’s not enough, recent studies have shown that young children who were taught to use the computer before entering school, scored 40% higher on their tests. I’m telling you- introducing your child to technology at a young age and letting them play the computer is a great way to give them a great start to their education. Just be sure to keep a close eye on them and monitor their computer use. It should be used as a tool and not a babysitter! Make sure they know how and where they should visit and play games. You wouldn’t let them walk down the street by themselves, don’t let them walk into the online-world by themselves. Know what they are doing, where they are going online and who they are playing or chatting with…
Do you let your child on the computer?
Now, with all that said, what are your thoughts on children playing on the computer for fun or educational purposes? Is there a specific age a child should be before getting on the computer? Do you recommend a particular site? I would love to hear your input on children & computers! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this sometimes rather controversial subject!