Monitoring your Childs Computer Time

Children are using computers at a younger and younger age. There are educational and entertainment sites out there that cater to children as young as 2. But when your child gets on the internet they may bring the evils and dangers of the world right into your home. You monitor what your child watches on television and how much time they can spend in front of it. Even more care should be given when they sit down in front of the computer.

You are your child’s best teacher. Neither the computer nor the TV should be used in place of you interacting with your child. However the computer can be a great value to your child’s education. Many sites have games designed to teach your child everything from spelling to math, and on various age levels. Older children can benefit from the endless supply of research material that can be found on the web.

Actual time spent sitting in front of a computer should be limited, and perhaps earned. “Computer time” should be a privilege even if it is about learning or homework research. For children using the computer for educational games they should be given 30 minutes to an hour of time per day if they’ve earned that time. The computer shouldn’t keep a child from getting outside and playing or doing other activities that require movement.

Older children working on reports should limit their time on the computer and do the rest of their research in a library. If it’s homework help they require a parent should sit with them and help them on the computer so their time isn’t spent tracking down information for hours on end.

Now that you have the amount of time they should be allowed to sit in front a computer straightened out, you need to monitor or limit where they can surf to on the web. Give your child their own account on the computer. If they are young children you should give them web access to sites that you specifically allow their account to log on to. If they try to go somewhere they aren’t allowed to they are simply blocked from opening that site. When older kids are using the computer for the purposes of researching it’s advisable to give them access to the sites they’ll need to complete the task once you’ve examined the site. Block all chat rooms. Instant messengers can be limited to only their friends. Tracking devices can be installed to check out where your child has been on the web so you can keep an eye on them.

Remember that the computer should be limited just like television. If they’re sitting in front of a computer or TV they aren’t being active. Time should be given for these activities on an earned basis and you should always know what your child is doing on the computer. Limit access to only the web sites you deem appropriate for your child. Educate your child on the dangers of the outside world. Just as you teach your child not to talk to strangers – remind them that anyone on the computer that talks to them is a stranger too. Just because they are hiding behind a computer screen doesn’t mean they aren’t strangers and potentially dangerous.