Computers are everywhere and so much of our lives depend on our mastery of this machine and more specifically, mastery of the Internet. Both a blessing and a curse, the net can be our master or our slave to make our lives harder or easier depending on our computer self-confidence. So how can you safely encourage your child to develop this comfort? Here are a few tips to get them off on the right foot:
- Make using the computer a fun activity that you do together. Try asking some questions and then using a search engine to find the answers.
- Play simple, easy to win games together using sites such as Learning Games for Kids, Spelling City and Vocabulary Games.
- If your child gets stuck or makes a mistake, sandwich your correction between two thick slices of praise. For example, "Maya, you have done a great job to get this far, I'm amazed at how quickly you have picked this up. I see that you have reached a dead-end right now but I'm confident you have what it takes to get back on the right track as you have done so well up to this point."
- Augment their textbook lessons with online curriculum such as Time4Learning.
- Look into affordable online writing tutors offered by courses found at Time4Writing.com.
- Write emails together to family members and include photos or links to videos that the 2 of you select from YouTube.
- Allow supervised use of protected kids social media sites such as Club Penguin and WebKinz.
The most important ingredient in how much self confidence your child has around computers is how much you display yourself. So be a good role model and mix a good dose of trial and error with genuine curiosity. Treat it like an adventure and you are sure to change fear to fun in an instant.