Before they are in kindergarten, today’s kids know how to use technology. Computers, in the form of “toys” are introduced to children as young as 18 months. Cell phones, iPods, iPads, laptops and many other gadgets are so important in our daily lives, so is it any wonder that babies are being introduced to this technology?
Once a child reaches school age, they must have access to a computer. The cost of textbooks has skyrocketed, making it necessary for schools to resort to on line textbooks. These textbooks are available on each school’s student website and they are what the students use to do their homework. Aside from the textbooks, the student websites are also a sort of social networking area for students and teachers. Only students and teachers have access to these sites. Students can communicate with each other here and teachers are available for tutoring.
Even though having a computer is necessary for schoolwork, there should be strict rules in place on its use. A computer should never be placed in a young child’s room. Parents need to know what sites the child is visiting at all times, and if the computer is “hidden”, this isn’t possible. Young children aren’t set loose alone in the world, nor should they be set loose alone on the world-wide-web.
If left alone to surf the net, a child may be tempted to explore. Even if this exploration leads the child to an on-line game that some classmates play, it could lead to danger. The game may be age appropriate, but there are usually chat boxes at game sites so the gamers can “talk” to each other.
We teach our children about “stranger danger”, but are they taught that there are strangers behind the words in a chat box? A child sees this as kids playing the same game together. They play games with other kids at school all the time, and they talk as they play. Why should the computer playmates be treated any differently? They tell their playmates at schools their names and where they live, so why not tell the computer playmates?
Road trips have always been family favorites, but kids get bored on long rides. The perfect solution for a boring car, plane or train ride is an e-reader. The child could have many books, games and puzzles all on one compact device. E-books aren’t as expensive as physical books, not to mention much lighter! There are many fun and educational apps for all ages, from toddler to adult. And just think, no last minute hunting for lost books or games!
Some parents would disagree, but they should consider giving a child a cell phone. We’ve all been late in picking up a child at least once. Sometimes, it can’t be helped. Closed streets, traffic, snow, flooding…anything can happen and if your child, even at the age of six, had a cell phone, you’d be able to call to give that child alternate instructions. Of course, the parents must set strict restrictions on a very young child’s phone. True, not every child is responsible enough to have a phone, but if the parents take the time to lay down the ground rules, most kids would be fine with it.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to find out what rules regarding phones each school has. Once we know the rules, we can make sure the child understands the rules and knows the consequences for breaking them.
Technology isn’t a problem. The problem usually stems from the parents’ inability to properly supervise their children. Supervision and education are key. Parental responsibility isn’t finished once the device is purchased; the child needs to be taught how to use that device responsibly and safely.
Many parents also have a problem with saying “No” to their children. True, a very young child would benefit from a computer and a cell phone, however, when do we stop giving our kids gadgets? Is it really necessary for a child in elementary school to have a laptop, an iPhone, an iPad, and an iTouch? Your nine year old comes to you and says, “But, Mom….everyone ELSE has them all”. Yeah…and you say, “If everyone else was jumping off bridges…”. You get the idea…time to say “No”.
If you are interested in learning more about protecting your Internet privacy, download our FREE Internet Privacy Guide at the top of the page.Tags: Internet, Internet Safety, Protecting Children