Computer Basics for Children
This school year, along with reading, writing and math, chances are your children are also getting plenty of lessons in the classroom involving computers. Technology is now a regular part of school curriculums.
While most children will get some computer education in school, it's a good idea for parents to introduce computers to their children early on. Many teachers will expect children to know their way around computers in order to complete assignments. The more comfortable your child is, the easier it will be as they advance through the technology curriculum in the classroom.
Initially, a child’s first introduction to a computer is likely to be with mom or dad at home playing educational games. There are many great sites and programs designed specifically for the young computer user. However, along with the entertainment and fun, there are some basic skills that you will want to teach your child.
Mouse and Keyboard: Show your children how to navigate with the mouse. You can have them play around on sites that require movement and clicking so they get the hang of the function. For very young children, you can adjust the mouse settings to a slower speed so it's easier for them to handle. Show them how the keyboard works - when you hit a letter, it shows up on the screen. As they get older, you can teach them proper hand positions on the keyboard.
On and Off: Teach your children the proper way to turn the computer on and off and to allow the computer to boot up all the way before opening files or beginning programs.
Proper Etiquette: Explain the rules and etiquette required around a computer. Examples include keeping food and drinks away from the computer, and handling the mouse and keyboard gently (no banging!).
Search Engine: As your child gets older, show him or her how to search the internet. This is a great tool when it comes time for them to start doing research for homework. Are they interested in dinosaurs? Where can they look to get credible information online? Parents might want to bookmark search engines they feel comfortable with and ensure that proper parental controls are in place.
Of course, teaching your children about computers also means making them aware of the risks. Talk to them about online safety and make sure they understand some of the dangers. Most experts suggest that parents place a family computer in an open space in the home so that mom or dad can keep an eye on what's happening.
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