Parents, I have 2 sons Dhanush and Ankush who are 7 and 2 year old. My first son has already picked up many terms & started using computer for painting, answering his questions (obviously by mom Deepa), etc.
Even the small one has picked up identifying animals, objects, etc and its become easier for us to teach them a bit on what is happening around....i suggest people make use and get benefitted out of this.
You do make a good point about how the Internet can be used in beneficial ways to educate young children and to foster their creativity. If you know any good sites that you have found, please recommend them so other parents can benefit also.
Despite both my husband and I being in IT, I feel that for young kids (till 5/6 years), there is nothing like old fashioned basics (reading, talking, writing, math and play) done the old fashioned way. Computers and the internet are skills that are easy to learn, the basics are most important. Also, these kids pick up so much from us being clicking away on our laptops and showing them pictures etc.
That said, there is still some fun and exposure even young kids can have on the net. Here are some web sites for younger kids
for slightly older kids (+7), we discovered the really really fun
clubpenguin.com (sort of a virtual world for kids, they can name their penguins, social networks and play games. We prefer the play games part--find it safer)
Also for concepts and homework, folks swear by wikipedia, national geographic/kids...
Some other fun web sites:
For older kids (8+) a great newspaper
I am also working in IT, But I dont agree to what you say. Because computer is so easy that any one can learn. But What is difficult is making children read books. Which is a very good habit. You can say kids can read books online. It is not at all good for their eyes.
One more thing is kids are forgetting team activities because of this computer. Do you remeber playing with your friends, brothers and sisters outside of your house? How fun it was. I feel pity that now a days kids are not doing these things at all. We used to learn a lot because of going out and making friends with other children in the street.
So in my opinion, allow kids to read books for some time and insist them to go out and play. They will learn a lot in this natural way. Dont make them adicts to computers. In Schools they are anyway doing that.
Yes Savitri, I agree that computers/internet should not come in the way of kids playing, interacting, learning as you say "naturally". But if the kids have time, I feel it is okay to let them do a lil bit of clicking around (i think) The question is do they have the time? My 7 year old gets back from school at 4.
But there is some amount of peer pressure as well. Because other kids are computer savvy, my kids feel "bhondu" and I feel that that is not ideal as well.
Any ideas, tips etc. to tread a middle path or to look at this issue are very welcome. ;-)
I totally agree with you when you say how different its been from our good golden days that we had playing around in mud, water, trees, huge play grounds, going around villages, mountains etc....but we should accept facts as it is today with not many play grounds, no relatives in villages as most of them have moved to cities in search of jobs or whatever, streets full of traffic,abductions, horrible school timings, etc...
I accept your advice of adapting reading habits for kids...but becomes bit tough until they are like 10+, hence i suggest anything visual will attract kids faster than reading a book.
You have a point here. Computers are better than them watching TV the whole day though. Computers are not passive and more interactive and a better learning tool than say TV.
And can be really useful for school projects etc. as the kids get older (tap the fantastic info. the internet has on so many topics).
I guess, kids like us need to look at the computers/internet as a tool and not an end by themselves and waste time on it at the cost of playing sports, reading and talking to friends.
A balance? But treading that balance is so tough...and am not perfect...;-)
Sometimes, days I use the TV as a babysitter, somedays I get into doing a lot of activities with them, sometimes I let them stay busy by playing games. Right now am writing far too much here. Need to get back. ;-)
It is tough being a parent and trying to find that balance...ideas, comments always welcome!
Suresh, kids doesnot have to wait till 10+ to read books. Parents can start teaching them from age one. Bring books from libraries which have colored images in bigger size. I am purposefully saying libray. Dont buy books every time. When they grow up it helps them a lot. Kids must understand that they dont have to buy every thing.
When you feed them show the images and tell them stories with action. Kids love acting and sounds. If you do this for some time, kids will start linking the sound with the image. So when you ask them to show the image with that sound they will easily recognise it.
One more important thing you can do is playing music (not rock, pop etc. soft, melodious music) as a background. "Shishurvethi, Pasurvethi, vethi Ganarasm Phani hi" (From animals to kids anything on this earth can enjoy music.). Even if they are not concentrating on it, dont stop it. keep it on.
Tell them stories. Dont show them. Let them imagine what they are listning. It helps them a lot in their life later on.
I agree that there is no place in cities for kids to play. But now in almost all apartment complexes builders are giving play areas.
Lastly, what I can say is where there is a will there is a way. We dont have TV in our home. So kids dont stick to TV and they never complained that they are not watching it. We must tell kids what is the positive in it. Even though we all (ours is a combined family. We have kids starting from 2nd year to 18th year :-) ) are IT professionals, we dont allow them to sit infront of computer to do research for their projects. We help them search in books. Every day they come home, refresh, do home work, then go down play for some time or play with brothers and sisters. Then read story books for some time, Dinner, go to sleep. Saturday or sunday we take them to movie or outing.
They all know how to handle computer (even the smaller one.). But they dont depend on computer for any thing (games, research, entertainment etc.). That is enough I feel.
i agree children sitting in front of computer find it very colorful and attractive.. of course tend to spend more time in front of it learning painting, coloring, color identification, letter recognition, etc.... but this is not the actual method to teach them... when u teach ur child something whether it is coloring, identifying objects or letters or names, etc... u r not only doing that but at the same time improving their fine motor skills and memory as well.. holding the crayon or a pen or pencil in his hand and scribbling all over the house walls and papers help him strengthen his muscles.. in a long run... he can definitely improve his memory and wl definitely be very creative..
but i think computer ll be an addiction
i think one very important aspect of bad posture hasn't caught any body's attention yet. Are you aware of the number of adults with back aches and neck and shoulder pain due to spending too much time on the comp?? Can you imagine what too much time on the comp would do to the kids' backs??
More food for thought!
I agree with most of you regarding the reduction in reading habits once a child gets hooked on to the computer. We deliberately kept our daughter off the computer untill she was about 6 years old because there is really no substitute for reading. Her school also encourages reading. Infact for assignments, children are encouraged to go the school library and do reference rather than googling topics and downloading from the net. We are also a little cautious to allow our child to use the net unsupervised as there are so many sites which are unsuitable for children. We have windows vista with a "parental control" system. Our daughter now has an email id and we have clearly explained to her that emailing persons who are non family members or friends who are not known to us is not on!! But generally, everything has to be used in moderation. IT is good, it is helpful but it needs to be used only when required. Kids can get hooked to the computer or the net and that really interferes with their all round growth.
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