Kids and Computers
Children who are using computers are getting younger and younger. And according to a recent study, they are using the Internet at the average age of 3 years. This is partly related to a dramatic increase in the use of smartphones and tablets, and partly due to the parents fearing that their children will lag behind their peers if not introduced to computers at young age.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
There are many ways in which kids can benefit from using computers. In addition to providing entertainment, many games and tools are also designed to promote development of certain skills or/and to be educative. Just like adults, children also enjoy chatting online with their friends, look for information for school, read books online, etc. Some studies also suggest that children who are introduced to computers at a young age perform better in school but there is not enough evidence to support this claim.
Computers have been shown to be especially helpful and beneficial for children with special needs or disabilities that prevent them from taking part of the traditional activities or/and programmes by providing them with easy access to the virtual alternatives and services that make their lives easier.
Allowing children to use computers and access the Internet at a very young age has its disadvantages as well. In addition to protecting kids from online threats and inappropriate content, parents should also make sure that their youngsters don’t spend too much time at the computer and neglect the traditional activities. Unfortunately, computers encourage sedentary lifestyle which is unhealthy for both kids and adults, and is one of the main culprits of the growing prevalence of overweight and obesity in children. Another problem with computers is that while encouraging interaction with other computer users, they may negatively impact children’s interaction with other people in real life.
What Parents Should Do?
Experts are divided on the question when is the best time to introduce kids to computers and the Internet. But they agree that parents should keep a close eye on how their children are using computers and especially the Internet to make sure that they stay safe. We recommend you try a glass screen for your phone for added protection. It is recommended not to let the child unsupervised when using the Internet and install programmes that allow you to keep track of what they they doing online. Even more important is to make sure that the child understands that there are also bad people on the Internet and talk to him/her about the online dangers as soon as possible. The last but not the least important thing is to make sure that the child doesn’t spend too much time at the computer.