Kids are back in school after the holiday break. Let’s start them off on the right foot when it comes to computer use. Monitor what your kids are doing online.
Did you know that a study by Duke University scholars of 150,000 North Carolina students, in grades 5-8, revealed negative effects of home computers on reading and math scores? A conclusion was also reached that the home computer “is put to more productive use in households with more effective monitoring of child behavior.” This seems like common sense doesn’t it? But there you have it – a study to verify this common sense view.
Children in this age group use the computer primarily for social reasons and to play games. There’s nothing wrong with that…except when that’s the only thing these kids are doing online. There’s a time for catching up with friends online and there’s a time for doing homework. Kids require some parental monitoring and limit setting to teach good computer and learning habits. The computer can be a wonderful educational environment with appropriate limit setting and parental intervention. All consuming game playing or socializing online leaves no time for homework, or for time to sit down and crack a book, which may not seem as exciting to many children today. What about time to go outside to play and get exercise? We have all heard the statistics that childhood obesity is a huge problem today. Sedentary activity like sitting in front of a computer for hours on end contributes to that problem.
Today’s children are our problem solvers and critical thinkers of the future so it’s essential that we guide and encourage kids to use the computer in productive, healthy ways that will help them to be successful in life. The computer is one piece of a child’s life, just like eating, sleeping, going to school, getting together with friends. All of these pieces need to be kept in a healthy balance. This requires parents to oversee all of these pieces, including computer usage, to make sure when put all together make a healthy whole.