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Lessons to Teach Kids About Using Computers

by Erica Loop

With the pervasive use of technology, it shouldn't be a surprise that 85 percent of kids ages 3 through 17 years of age had access to a computer at home in 2010, according to the Child Trends Data Bank. Whether your child is a tech novice or a pro, you can help her learn more about computer use with a few hands-on lessons.

Basic Lessons

Toddlers and preschoolers need to learn the basics of computers first. When discussing your home computer, use the appropriate terminology -- don't underestimate your child's ability to learn from and understand you. Show your child how to use the computer as you instruct him. Instead of just saying, "Turn on the power button," point to the button or press it with him. Point out each part of the computer such as the monitor, keyboard and mouse before you move on to more complex tech activities.

Typing

Typing is one of the key elements your child must learn to use a computer. She can learn how to use the keyboard with word processing programs or simply by practicing. Write out a paragraph or two, and have your child type it up for you. Include letters, numbers and symbols to help your child learn about all of the keys.

The Internet

The Internet provides an ideal way for kids to research information for a school history report. Before letting your little one loose online, ensure that he knows how to use the Internet and how to keep safe while surfing. Introduce your child to a kid-friendly search engine such as KidRex. Help your child come up with keywords that match what he is looking for. If he is researching George Washington, have him type in "George Washington," "first president" or "U.S. presidents." Talk to your child about Internet safety issues such as not giving out his personal information and staying out of chat rooms.

Using the Computer for School

As your child moves into the elementary, middle and high school years, she will need to use the computer for school work. This could include doing more than Internet research. Your child might need to type reports, create spreadsheets or make her own PowerPoint presentation. Open the program that she needs to use -- such as Excel or PowerPoint -- and help her to explore its uses. Before your child has to create a formal project for school, allow her to try out different uses for the software. This will give her time to make mistakes, discover facets of the applications and feel comfortable using the computer.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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