Your Child’s First Computer: When is the Appropriate Age to Introduce Your Child to Technology?
Are you looking to get your teenage son a laptop? Or are you planning to buy your preschool daughter her first tablet?
Before you run to your nearest tech shop, you need to ask yourself an important question: “Is my child ready for his first electronic computer?”
The answer varies depending on the age of your child. But the common denominator is that excessive gadget use can harm your children. Studies reveal that too much gadget use can affect children’s social and emotional functions.
This means there is a specific amount of screen time that is safe for your children. So how do you determine which is safe or not? What are the factors and parameters you need to consider?
Continue reading below as we discuss the proper age to introduce your child to computers.
The Key Considerations
To effectively introduce your child to his first electronic computer or gadget, you must first consider some key factors. Let’s discuss them below:
You need to educate your kids about what a computer or gadget can do. Sit down with your child and explain the rules for computer use.
If you are not tech-savvy, you may consider enrolling your child in a short computer course. This will teach him the fundamentals of the computer. Furthermore, there are courses on basic programming, graphics, and animation perfect for teens.
It is also imperative that you join your child whenever he uses his computer. Computer and gadget use can be confusing for young minds. Hence, you can guide them with the tactics and directions.
Furthermore, you can see how your child behaves. You can see how he reacts when facing difficult tasks. Your presence can help you and your child to maximize the computer’s benefits.
Furthermore, you can also ensure the kind of content your child sees on the internet.
The Internet: A Pandora’s Box
Speaking of the internet, it is like Pandora’s Box. It is a source of both good and bad content. Thus, do not allow your child to go online alone.
Thousands of content are harmful to children. These can be videos that showcase violence, drugs, and sex.
Additionally, your child may accidentally download files that may harm the computer.
His First Electronic Computer: Appropriate Usage Per Age Group
Regardless of how old your child is, there is a corresponding amount of usage that is appropriate to his age. Let’s take a look at them below:
Children two years old and below belong to this age group. Even if you feel that your two-year-old can appreciate cartoons, he still shouldn’t be holding any sort of computer or gadget.
Infants do not have ample skills to use computers. These skills cover both physical and cognitive. The only time you should allow your child close to a computer or tablet is during video chatting with family.
Kids between 2 to 3 years old become more curious about computers. This is a stage where they love to press computer keyboards and buttons. Hence, you must always be beside your child whenever he plays with the keyboards, buttons, and mouse.
You must teach him how to press the buttons gently. You can also show him the cause and effect of pressing buttons. But overall, toddlers can only use computers and smartphones for only a few minutes.
This is the age group (3 to 4) where children begin to draw. This is the time when they start to appreciate puzzles and matching games on the computer. Though they still enjoy computer time with parents, they will show signs that they want to be in command.
Limit their use to a few activities per day. Use the Word processor and teach them more about letters. A good exercise is teaching them how to spell their name using the keyboard.
Furthermore, this is the time where you can develop the habit of washing hands before and after computer use. Since they are still small, they cannot use computers independently. Thus, forgo buying your preschool child his own.
Kids in primary school (5 to 7 years old) can use computers with more confidence and independence. They can also enjoy simple games on their own. Nevertheless, you still need to be present.
Furthermore, your seven-year-old still doesn’t need to have his own computer. But you can start increasing his computer skills. You can teach him about typing, using passwords, and internet safety.
If your child is between 8 to 12 years old, expect him to demand more independence in their computer usage. Moreover, he will start demanding more privacy.
Since he will start to use the computer more in school, you may consider getting him one. You can allow him to work independently. However, you or another adult must be in the same room, ideally.
You must also install internet filtering software to ensure safe browsing.
As for the type of laptop, you can go for the 13 to 15-inch models. These are light and portable but still, offer enough in terms of screen size.
But don’t scrimp on quality. Find a laptop that is durable enough to absorb moderate falls.
If you have a teenager, you can allow him to work independently. But still, check on him from time to time. Also, make it a rule to check his browsing history and logs.
Remind him constantly about internet safety.
As he goes through his teenage years, update his laptop accordingly. Slowly transition his laptop until it is university-ready.
When it comes to the operating system, it is best to stick with what your family is currently using. This will help your child adjust faster with his new computer.
Expand Your Computer Knowledge
Introducing your child to his first electronic computer is exciting and frightening. But with the right knowledge, you can provide proper guidance and safe computer use.
To maximise your family’s computer, you need to continue expanding your knowledge. We invite you to check our other blog posts. We discuss various topics on computers and anything about technology.