Children and Computers


Tuesday 18 June 2013

Children and Computers

When I was at school, we were proud to have a computer lab. Twenty five years ago it was something that was pretty rare. At home we had a ZX Spectrum that my Dad spent weeks programming to obtain a space raiders type game.

My how things have changed!

When I worked as a secondary school teacher, it was expected that every child had access to a computer. If a parent was concerned that their child  needed to do some extra revision then they would often ask for online resources as they felt their children were more likely to be willing to do this type of study.

Even now, if I have the computer on in the day, big and middle man come up asking if they can use it. If big man has a question and we don't know the answer, he immediately asks us to Google it. Today I found out a millipede can have between 80 and 400 legs. The world has changed a lot and computers are part of everyday life. I have no idea when a child needs their own laptop, but I imagine that within a few years we will be purchasing one for big man to use.

Unfortunately, along with the wealth of knowledge that our children can access on the internet, it comes with it's dangers. I have a lot to learn in this area and any advice you can offer would be much appreciated. At the moment we have taken the follow steps:

1. In order to ensure that the boys are only accessing the sites that we want them too, my husband has set up the sites we are happy for them to use on the bookmark bar. They see the icon they want, click it and they are there (usually at the Disney Junior website.) Whilst they are still little, I think this is great, but in the future we will need to look further into parental blocking.

2. Incase the boys somehow manage to get onto another page and click onto something unsuitable, we have used the service restrictions offered by our internet service provider. This blocks out unsuitable sites but is sometimes a bit over zealous as I have had the odd occasion when it has stopped me from getting onto parenting blogs!

3.Big man is still a big Smurfs Village fan. At the tender age of 5, he has not yet learnt the value of money and does not understand why he can't buy a massive basket of Smurfberries at the pricey sum of £69.99.
So our tablet has all the restrictions turned on, with the in app purchases disabled.

My theory is that technology changes so quickly, that you have to worry about each step as you reach it. I want to protect my children, but allow them to learn how to use a computer and the knowledge that it brings. At the moment I think these steps are fine. Have you got any other recommendations? How old was your child when they had a laptop of their own? Do you worry about the information they can access or cyber bullying?

(I tried to convince big man that baby man had been playing with his Smurf Village. I don't think he was fooled.)

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