What is the right age for someone to start using technology? Is it possible and appropriate for a toddler to handle an iPad better than a parent? These are but a few of the many questions people have about technology and children today.
Since its inception, the internet has proven to be both a valuable resource, a security threat, and an often addictive time-waster. Many people regard it as unsuitable terrain for children. But it is important to remember that there are bad and good elements to the online world, and if used correctly and with care, it can offer our children and pupils a very enriching learning experience. Indeed, some would argue that since the age of the internet has already crossed our threshold, we need to integrate it positively into our children’s upbringing to ensure they can cope in the modern world. There is no question that a tech-savvy kid will ultimately have a big advantage in a competitive job market regardless of the field they ultimately choose.
With this in mind, how do parents integrate technology safely and effectively into their children’s learning? How can we guide the next generation in the right direction – a direction which embraces the digital era but still safeguards their wellbeing? Giving your child access to computers and the internet will keep them at the cutting edge of technology, develop their problem solving skills, and hopefully make them pioneers of a better tomorrow. What is important however, is to avoid exposure to adult content, online predators, manipulators, and scamsters. Here are some tips which can easily be adopted:
Become computer literate yourself. It’s no good if your children can run circles around you when you are trying to control their browsing habits.
Use an internet web filter to block harmful sites and adult content. A search in Google Images for the word ‘woman’ without any filters running turns up a host of images that many parents would be uncomfortable with their children seeing. Set up some filters straight away to keep their basic interaction safe.
Bookmark their favourite sites for easy access. Simplifying the channels they follow to access their preferred sites will avoid children being waylaid by unsuitable alternatives that will always be popping up.
Keep the computer in a common area. Setting up a desk in a living area will go a long way in regulating their online behaviour. Unrestricted access to a laptop will give your child plenty of opportunity to get involved with bad people and bad content online.
Talk about it! Ultimately if you are doing it right, your child will become a highly skilled user able to find anything he or she chooses regardless of any technical safety methods you deploy. Talking regularly about what your child is doing online, what they have seen, and very importantly, who they are talking to can help you understand what benefits your child is enjoying, or what dangers are lurking.
These effective measures will help you and your child embrace the digital age in a safe and productive way and prepare them for their future in an ever-changing world.
Frampol is a cutting edge solutions provider based in Harare, Zimbabwe. We are a leading MSP which provides Internet, cloud based software and consultancy services on what’s best for you in this technological era. Contact us, let’s have a chat!
Neil Padmore is the director of Frampol. Frampol is a cutting edge technology solutions provider. Get a free consultation with us on getting the ideal ICT technology for your educational institution. We make IT work!