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Computers and Internet - 1st to 5th standard

Parentree-editors 2008-11-28 10:27:20

Pondered and fretted about what websites and web activities are appropriate for your primary school going child. What if they bump into undesirable adult web sites while researching for a school project, what parental controls to use, whether social networking sites are appropriate for your child etc. We have some pointers here to guide you in helping your child use the computer and the net effectively and safely.

But first it is important you review some basic guidelines about computers and the net for your children, if you have not already.

1st and 2nd standard - Where are they developmentally?

  • Children can type.
  • Children can read and write.
  • Their vocabulary is larger than what they truly understand.
  • Many children start basic computer instruction in school.
  • They are becoming more independent and have a mind of their own.

1st and 2nd standard - Some guidelines

  • Along with fun and games, you should start using the Internet (search and web browsing) with the children for project research and learning.
  • You should start by doing the Internet work for them, but slowly they will start searching and browsing a little by themselves. Make sure that you are around. Taking a quick phone or fixing a quick snack is okay but not for anything longer.
  • By the end of Class 2, kids should be able to do Internet searches for their project work and can click on search images for extracting them for their project work.
  • This might be the perfect time to ensure that you have parental control software on the computer they will use—to block undesirable websites, allow certain websites, filter search and even set and monitor time limits. Some software will even create activity reports of their web usage. Windows Vista and Mac computers have parental controls built into them. Netnanny is a good example of parental control software that is available in India (in leading computer shops and some bookstores) and can be installed easily. You can set these controls remotely as well (for example allow access for a specific website) and the advantage is that even when you are not present, you will feel secure that your child is using the net safely.
  • They will still enjoy reading comprehension, math and other games and activities in websites.
  • Many will still enjoy websites like PBSkids and Lego from their early years.
  • Some other websites good for this age are
    • National Geographic Kids - http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/
    • Yahoo Kids - http://kids.yahoo.com/
    • Discovery Kids - http://kids.discovery.com/
    • Pitara  - http://www.pitara.com (web content for Indian kids)
    • BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/bitesizeprimary/
  • Kids are still too young for email accounts. Perhaps a little email to a friend or grandpa with mama’s help is fine and if used judiciously can encourage the writing-averse to jot their thoughts at times.
  • These days, social networking sites for children like Club Penguin and Neopets are getting popular. Do NOT encourage these. They rob your child of fun and real time spent with real friends, play and other activities. Remember that every hour spent in front of a screen is one they do not spend reading, writing, playing or imagining. There can be a lot of group bullying on these sites and it can affect your child emotionally. If your child is very keen, try and first direct their attention towards some other Internet activity, some other fun and educational website. But if they are hell-bent because of peer pressure, you may consider these under your guidance but be judicious in restricting their time and monitoring their activities.
  • Again, fix a time limit and stick to it. It is important that they spend time doing other play, social, and academic related activities as well.

3rd, 4th and 5th standard - Where are they developmentally?

  • Peer influence is gaining ground.
  • Children are becoming more conscious of their gender and bodies.

3rd, 4th and 5th standard - Some guidelines

  • Children are starting to use the Internet freely for project work and other activities. Encourage them to visit appropriate sites. Check the sites yourself to know the content.
  • As they depend more and more on the computer for project and other school projects and homework, agree on appropriate time limits on the computer, net, TV and other media and stick to it. It is important that they also have time for friends, sports, extra-curricular activities and of course academics.
  • Kids are still too young for email accounts. Perhaps a little email to a friend or grandpa from mama's account is fine and if used judiciously can encourage the writing-averse to jot their thoughts at times.
  • These days, social networking/virtual world sites for children like Club Penguin and Neopets are getting popular. Do NOT encourage these. They rob your child of fun and real time spent with real friends, play and other activities. Remember that every hour spent in front of a screen is one they do not spend reading, writing, playing or imagining. There can be a lot of group bullying on these sites and it can affect your child emotionally. If your child is very keen, try and first direct their attention towards some other Internet activity—some other fun and educational website. But if they are hell-bent because of peer pressure, you may consider these under your guidance but be judicious in restricting their time and monitoring their activities.
  • Of course, keeping the computer in a public area versus their bedroom helps you to monitor their use in a more open and discreet way rather than hovering over their shoulders.
  • Some useful websites for learning and school projects for this age group are:
  • Parental control software is a must - to block undesirable websites, allow certain websites, filter search and even set and monitor time limits. Some software will even create activity reports of their web usage. Windows Vista and Apple computers have parental controls built into them. Netnanny is a good example of parental control software that is available in India (in leading computer shops and some bookstores) and can be installed.

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