How Soon Can Your Child Start Using Computers?

“When should I start teaching my son (or daughter) about computers?” This is a common question I get from new parents. There’s no hard and fast answer or correct age. I always tell them to just provide access to an older computer as early as possible, even if they just pound the keys like a whack-a-mole game. In time they begin to press the keys (whatever keys that are left) and learn to maneuver the mouse enough to control the cursor on the screen.

There are many excellent games for tiny tots which make it fun for even the youngest of users. There are fun coloring book type games and music based activities that will keep even the most hyperactive toddler busy for the longest of times. Every child is different so you’ll need to try many types of educational games before you learn what really grabs their attention and interests them.

Terrible Twos
For my kids, they seemed to be ready and willing to learn about ‘puters (as they called it) when they hit the terrible twos for whatever reason. I was fortunate enough to be in the computer industry so I had no problems being able to get older systems dirt cheap for them. The other thing you can do is time your home computer replacements to coincide with their introduction to computers. Whenever I upgraded our family PC I would give the replaced system to oldest child and give their system to their younger sibling and so on and so forth. It’s a process that I believe we will continue to do until they leave the nest. It just works.

It’s a Small World Even Online
When your children are a little older they will want to join some of the cool online gaming services out there. The most popular ones come from Disney, no surprise there. They own ClubPenguin.com, PiratesOnline.com and ToonTown.com. They can target just about every age group with those three offerings and each requires a monthly subscription fee. They’re all closely monitored and just about every age child seems to enjoy it.

Summation
Let’s face it, things sure have changed since we were young ‘ens. Computers have become a natural part of every day existence at work and at play. The sooner our children become familiar with technology and start learning how to use it–the better.

About Doriano "Paisano" Carta
  • http://www.hawaiiweblog.com Ryan

    I have kids ages 4, 6, and 10, and all three are big fans of WebKinz and Club Penguin. I personally prefer Webkinz, but they definitely favor Club Penguin. They’re having fun, and learning lessons even I hadn’t thought they’d learn… like not saving passwords, else your siblings will wipe out all your savings and rearrange your igloo!

  • http://www.hawaiiweblog.com Ryan

    I have kids ages 4, 6, and 10, and all three are big fans of WebKinz and Club Penguin. I personally prefer Webkinz, but they definitely favor Club Penguin. They’re having fun, and learning lessons even I hadn’t thought they’d learn… like not saving passwords, else your siblings will wipe out all your savings and rearrange your igloo!

  • http://www.adjustafresh.com adjustafresh

    Nick Jr’s Playtime game area is great for younger kids. It’s fairly easy for kids 2 – 4 years of age to navigate the site and play games without getting too lost or frustrated. Other than the occasional accidental right mouse click which reveals the Flash menu, my children have always found the site very fun and easy to use.

    The Disney sites on the other hand tend to be more high maintenance and harder for the kids to use.

  • http://www.adjustafresh.com adjustafresh

    Nick Jr’s Playtime game area is great for younger kids. It’s fairly easy for kids 2 – 4 years of age to navigate the site and play games without getting too lost or frustrated. Other than the occasional accidental right mouse click which reveals the Flash menu, my children have always found the site very fun and easy to use.

    The Disney sites on the other hand tend to be more high maintenance and harder for the kids to use.

  • http://www.utterli.com/adamzand Adam Zand

    This question is rapidly becoming second nature to young and old. My son was able to get onto Internet Explorer at age 2 and he has an internship with http://www.creaturepark.com (Ingeeni Studios in Somerville, MA) at age 9.

    Funny you mention Club Penguin as I find most kids get bored of it pretty quickly. I’, with Ryan and wonder if WebKinz has more staying power and of course commercial potential.

    The other innovation in this space is combining test preparation and school skills to online tests that incorporate games. My son’s school system has subscription/seats with http://www.studyisland.com as prep for state testing. Seems to keep him more interested and I like the ability for teachers and parents to monitor results and progress.

    Let’s get kids comfortable and interested in front of the computer or PDA, but make sure having fun outside or with friends or with a book or art project is the first choice. We don’t want a generation of computer geeks like me and Chris Brogan ;)

  • http://www.utterli.com/adamzand Adam Zand

    This question is rapidly becoming second nature to young and old. My son was able to get onto Internet Explorer at age 2 and he has an internship with http://www.creaturepark.com (Ingeeni Studios in Somerville, MA) at age 9.

    Funny you mention Club Penguin as I find most kids get bored of it pretty quickly. I’, with Ryan and wonder if WebKinz has more staying power and of course commercial potential.

    The other innovation in this space is combining test preparation and school skills to online tests that incorporate games. My son’s school system has subscription/seats with http://www.studyisland.com as prep for state testing. Seems to keep him more interested and I like the ability for teachers and parents to monitor results and progress.

    Let’s get kids comfortable and interested in front of the computer or PDA, but make sure having fun outside or with friends or with a book or art project is the first choice. We don’t want a generation of computer geeks like me and Chris Brogan ;)

  • Aleta Watkins

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  • Aleta Watkins

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