9 answers

Advice on Computer Use for a 7 Year Old

Happy New Year, Moms.

So we feel strongly about keeping kids interacting with the world, learning things and building relationships instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer, so strongly that we have never had a television in our home and we have no communal computer space, though my husband and I both have machines that we use to work from home. My kids are happy and close to each other, very social beings and it is all working out well.

My question is about introducing computer learning. I know that they would love to spend a ton of time sitting in front of an interactive box so I want to be careful about how we do it. I want them to explore and feel comfortable with technology, but I don't want it domintating their lives.

Are there any particularly wonderful things you've found to do with your kids or to allow them to to to learn computers? There will be no non-educational games and my 7 year old already knows how to get on her favorite websites, but does not do it often.

I should mention that she goes to a school in which computers are really not used. It's a great school -- these kids are taught to think about things and I'm happy to supplement her learning at home.

What's worked for you?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My grandson, who is three, is with me every day and has loved the computer always and has been active on it for at least six months now. He goes to Nick Jr. com. There are tons of preschool activities on there. He knows how to click the icon and get going on the site. He goes from one activity to the next with no help. Have you tried this site?

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I have a 6 year old that I allow to use the computer. I have software that allows her to access kid friendly web sites where she can draw and do other things.
I'm also an elementary school teacher and believe strongly that kids need computer skills as they move through high school, college and into the world of work. Computers are just part of life and the faster we get used to them the better off we are later on.
That said, vegetating in front of the computer chatting is probably not the best use of the computer. I would suggest software like Reader Rabbit which are for learning and typically geared at each grade level. There are also many other programs out there for kids that teach everything from math to reading.
Drawing using something as simple as Paint can help with fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. It also helps improve mouse skills.
Using things like Publisher or Power Point can help with creativity and give kids a way of expressing themselves.
I would suggest, if you're looking for websites, to do a search of your own in google or yahoo. I typed in "educational websites for children" and it popped up a bunch of links. Check a few of them out, bookmark the ones you like and show your child how to use them.
Also remember that surfing the web encourages reading. You can't surf the web if you can't read. Find some websites that are geared to your daughter's interests and are age appropriate. Encourage her to read. Also turn on the parental controls most search engines have and teach your daughter how to use the web safely. Teaching web safety is something you can do together. While you're at it, you can promote using the computer for educational purposes.
Hope that helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My grandson, who is three, is with me every day and has loved the computer always and has been active on it for at least six months now. He goes to Nick Jr. com. There are tons of preschool activities on there. He knows how to click the icon and get going on the site. He goes from one activity to the next with no help. Have you tried this site?

1 mom found this helpful

You could take them to the library. Ours has little computer stations and its all kid friendly games and stuff, and its all protected so you don't have the chance of them falling across and inappropriate site, and then when times up you can take them home and you don't have to worry about them being in front of it all day.
K.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a son who just turned eight, and I am also an elementary teacher. Here are a few sites you will find educational and appropriate:

www.starfall.com
www.storylineonline.net
www.enchantedlearning.com
www.inklesstales.com
www.spellingcity.com
www.aplusmath.com
www.coolmath.com
www.brainpopjr.com
www.unitedstreaming.com
www.readinga-z.com
www.multiplication.com (when he's a bit older)
www.studyisland.com
www.headsprout.com

Also a lot of fun but not so much educational:

www.funbrain.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, my children have their own icon with their names. Everytime they want to get on the computer, they click on their personal name. Once they click on their personal name it takes them to two icons starfall and Disney. My children love the "independence" this gives them. Another site that is really good and has worked for us is Kidzu.com check it out, it is a nice website.

E. M

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't see anyone mention the Jump Start CD-Rom games. All the Jump Start CDs are educational. They have a grade-level series (starting with a Pre-K CD, which all of my kids have used), as well as an assortment of other games. We have Jump Start Typing and another spy/secret agent game which requires some historical knowledge (my 7-year-old likes this one a lot). My two-year-old really likes Jump Start Artist (which we got from Chick-Fil-A years ago in a kids' meal!); playing a kind of tangrams game, she has gotten really good at using the mouse (clickind and dragging) and seeing how the separate parts can make a whole picture.

I think that using a computer is one of those essential tools that kids need in today's world, so we don't keep our kids from it (even the two-year-old obviously), but we limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend on it. For my two oldest, they are generally allowed an hour each day of screen time (which includes both computers and video games, though we allow a little more time on Friday and Saturday). For my 7-year-old, his use of the computer or video games the next day depends on his reading independently for at least an hour the night before.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, my advice is to look at the school educational sites they are using in nearby districts in the elementary school curriculum. One is www.starfall.com

1 mom found this helpful

Do NOT assume that your library has any filtering software! This is a quote off of the ALA website: "The American Library Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights."

I would never allow a child to use a computer at a library!

At home, have your child do projects that they can handle that will help them be computer literate. They will need this in school eventually and definitely in life. Have them make scrapbooks or power points of events, people, or whatever they love. Have them do research with your supervision on their favorite topics. Make their computer time productive and educational while allowing them some creativity. It seems that kids are not doing as much creative stuff much anymore.

Make sure you have good filtering software at home!

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