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Preschool Children and the Internet…Does it Work?

Because computer knowledge is essential in our society today, most children are comfortable on the computer by the preschool years. But is it wise for young children to be working with computers? Let’s consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of encouraging computer use for preschoolers both at home and at school.

internet-classroom

Advantages
There are advantages for children who use computers at an early age, including the following:

  • Academic Growth- Academic software introduces educational skills, such as reading and writing
  • Increases spatial and logical skills
  • Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Enhances language comprehension
  • Improves long-term memory
  • Develops cooperative problem-solving skills when children work with peers or adults
  • Expands children’s world view. They can experience life in other countries, learn about differing cultures, and speak with pen pals via email.
  • Encourages creative expression- Software is available that helps develop imaginative skills in photography, drawing, and more.

Disadvantages
Despite the educational benefits of computer use among preschoolers, it also has its down side, to include:

  • The computer may inevitably be used as a babysitter
  • May impede physical development because children are sitting for long periods
  • Vision problems may result from sitting too close to the computer screen.
  • Deters from healthy activities such as reading together, having family discussions, or playing outside
  • Limits interaction with people, which inhibits social and communication skills
  • Children may be exposed to harmful sites if not supervised properly
  • Responsible Computer Usage

Is there a happy medium? We think so. To make computer use a success for children, consider the following steps:

  • Implement rules and time limits. Use a timer to signal when computer time is over to help avoid arguments.
  • Shop for software programs that stimulate creativity and problem solving. For example, programs that support open-ended, discovery-oriented learning are industrious educational tools.
  • Set up a separate profile on the computer for preschoolers to prevent them from entering harmful sites or deleting important files.
  • Balance computer time with healthy activities like reading, drawing, and playing outdoors.
  • Most importantly, always supervise your child’s computer activities. Do not leave her alone on the computer.

When computers are used responsibly, they are phenomenal tools for inspiring learning, both at preschool and in the home. But it’s important to teach your child appropriate computer use and supervise her to ensure that computer time is productive and useful.

December 19th, 2017

Posted In: About Montessori Education

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