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Computers and Your Child




Should you encourage your child to use the computer? This is one question many parents don't have an answer to. Although most parents know that it is always advantageous for children to be familiar with computer usage, they are not comfortable with their children surfing the internet since one cannot predict what a child will stumble upon.


Online Use

One of the first things any parent of a computer literate child should do is to install an internet blocking software. Once this is done, your child's chances of stumbling onto adult sites are reduced.

Next, get a telephone connection and disable auto-connect, so you are required to enter the password before connecting. In this manner your child will be able to browse only when you are around, and with your permission.


Chatting

Discourage your child from chatting on the internet. There is absolutely no reason for your child to speak to strangers, especially since you never know who exactly is on the other side of the screen. Chat rooms are favourite haunts of paedophiles, who use them to seek out potential prey and get as much information as possible about them. Your child should in fact be chatting with real friends in person, and not with strangers on the computer. Make sure your child is aware that he is not allowed to chat on the computer. Your child will then know that if he ever chats, he is doing so in disobedience of your orders.

Usually chat software is required to be downloaded, so simply do not download the software.

Speak to friends in your child's presence about the dangers of chatting with strangers. Your child is likely to just wave off your warnings, but if he 'accidentally' overhears a discussion about the dangers of chatting with strangers, he may think twice before doing so.

Similarly, speak about how unhealthy it is for youngsters to chat to strangers when they should be out there playing with friends. Drop names of role models your children admire. Say something like "Sachin Tendulkar says that he has never chatted on the internet as he feels it is the biggest waste of time possible."


Information

However, there is definitely a plus side to accessing the internet, as by doing so your child will have access to a lot of information, which should help him in his school work and projects. Familiarise your child with certain informative websites like Discovery.


Offline Use

There is a lot your child can do on the computer without having to go online. Get your child a CD. Most educative CDs contain a tremendous amount of information, and the information is departed in a very interesting manner. Your child is sure to enjoy the experience thoroughly, and in addition to increasing his general knowledge, your child will also get familiar with computer usage.


Games

Remember that computer games can be totally addictive, so it is best to limit your child's access to computer games. You should instead encourage them to get out there and play in the open. You could perhaps let your child play a few online games, because in this manner your child will know that he can only play them for a short while, when connected.


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