Computers have become an important part of our everyday lives and will be even more in the future. Knowledge about computers might become as important to elementary school children as reading and writing.
There has been a lot of debate whether computers should be used with younger children. Some educators doubt the value of modern technology with younger kids. But some researchers have found lot of positive learning benefits with the use of computers in younger kids, especially when an adult supervisor is involved. Positive impact has also been found on children with disabilities or special needs. It has been said that “Technology can change the way children think and learn. ”
Children are great “thinkers”. Their rapidly growing brains are assimilating a lot of knowledge from their surroundings. Lot of data is analyzed and stored in the memory cells. Positive play experiences, visual and auditory stimuli give a big boost to this process.
For example; I was pleasantly surprised one day when I saw my 2and half year old twin girls playing with their toy fishes. They were holding a couple of dolphins, making jumping movements with their hands and dolphin sounds with their mouth at the same time. They were pretending that the dolphins are playing in the water. Then they picked up a whale which started talking to the dolphins. They made whale sounds with some “clicks” and “tweets”. Being a mother I was fascinated and of course very proud. I learned later that they were looking at the Encyclopedia with their dad, on the earlier day and had repeatedly watched the sound clips and little video clips.
Explore, create and learn while having fun. That is a child’s life. Playing is a lot more to children then just having fun. As children play, they learn about themselves and their surrounding environment. They learn social skills, learn to solve problems and also develop their motor skills. Playing enhances their creativity and imagination.
These days wonderful computer based educational games and activities are available in the market for children. There are excellent websites on the internet, which provide information and educational games for children. Parents and caregivers should find play activities fit for their children. They should be challenging, but not frustrating or overwhelming. Parents are their child’s first playmates. Children enjoy a game lot more when a parent or family member is involved in the play.
Should children surf on the internet? It is “information super-highway. ” It has its own benefits and risks. Children using internet without supervision is a risk, but with a knowledgeable and responsible adult it could bring lot of benefits. It is just like driving a car and riding a car. Children can safely ride and enjoy the information super highway while a responsible adult is in the driver’s seat.
Of course there should be a limit on how much time children can spend on the computer. As a general guideline the rules can be similar to those used for viewing TV. Anything done in excess can be harmful. Consumption of too many vitamin tablets in a day can also be harmful.
Dr. Kanchan Bodas is a caring parent and editor of Springboard Magazine. http://www.springboardmagazine.com is an online educational magazine for children 3-9 years of age. Visit the site for lots of fun educational games to learn math and language, science experiments and essays, stories with audio, art and craft projects, coloring pages, general knowledge and much more. The format is easy to use and designed to stimulate creativity and learning in children. The magazine is free. Past issues are archived in a database.