Computers and Children
Most kids nowadays know what a computer is, are curious and want to try their hands at typing with the keyboard. How many ipad owners find themselves with more children’s apps on their ipad than theirs? There is no doubt that technology has changed the world and continues to do so. The use of computers is a part of life now and kids from very early ages are able to use the computer both for learning and play. The big question most people parents, educators have is what is the right age to introduce children to the computer?
Schools today are keen to introduce computer studies to children from early ages, the level of integration into the school program varies from school to school. Some schools are able to have a dedicated computer to each child while some offer some hours during the week dedicated to use of the computer. Most kids in the home also continue their use of the computer, though it might appear that home use of computers is more often to play computer games than educational. It would be helpful for home use of computers to bridge the gap between school and entertainment gaps.
However, technology is important in today’s world and taking a comprehensive approach to technology education will ensure that children thrive in the modern education system and for the jobs of the future.
Children want to be able to touch and hear and see things up close. Using computers to bring lessons and learning to live arguably allow the subject matter to last longer. So for example children who are learning about animals and unfortunately here in Nigeria might not be able to easily get to see the animals live are able to use different websites and computer software to hear the sounds that animals make and see them move and possibly experience a simulation of the animals in their natural habitat.
In preparation for research and future jobs early use of the computer (and comfort with using the internet) therefore enables the children to be able to get comfortable and efficient with information gathering for pleasure and education.
The internet and computers also encourages children to continue learning at their own pace. Gone are the days when students must suffer the potential rebuke of their teachers if they do not get the concept of a lesson or they have to rely on a lesson teacher. Nowadays almost all topics are available in some format on the internet, with lots of internet sites providing lessons for free.
However aside of the benefits of the computer and the internet, excessive use of the computer can lead to some health hazards for children such as eyestrain, lack of social interaction, repetitive stress injuries. It is parents and all educators’ responsibility to ensure that children and students are using the computer responsibly.
Use of the internet must be monitored by an adult to ensure children are not preyed on by internet stalkers, adult content, hate, bullying and potential violence. Parents and educators must not take the introduction of the computer, technology and internet lightly as the implications of wrong use by the children and students are quite costly and untested.
At the end of the day the best preparation for children is to develop the passion and curiosity for learning and the ability to learn how to learn.