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How Toddlers Can Benefit From Using Computers

It's a fact of life that we live in an electronic age and computers are a bigger part of our lives than ever. It's unlike anything we've seen in the past and kids are learning to use computers at younger ages. There are steps a parent can take to ensure that their toddlers receive important skill-building benefits from their computer experience.

"Kids that had some access to a computer, either at home or at a family member's house they went to frequently, had higher estimated IQ scores and higher school readiness scores than kids that did not have access to a computer," said Melissa Atkins, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Ohio (source: Azcentral.com).

On the other hand, some experts argue that young children may experience negative effects of computer use, including interference with cognitive development and social development. The key, for any parent, is to supervise their children's activity on the computer and to place time limits on use.

When small children use computers, parents should ensure the safety of their data. According to Alice Seba, owner of MalcolmsWeb.com (a resource website for parents of babies and toddlers), "To keep files safe there are programs available that will allow you to 'lock' the contents of your C drive so that important components can't be deleted accidentally."

Parents should also make the computer easier for little hands to use. They can purchase a child-size mouse, programmed for one click use, and a keyboard with large letters that doesn't include the extra characters a young child might find distracting.

There are many programs suitable for toddlers and parents should evaluate the abilities and interests of their children. Some programs teach basic skills such as colors, counting and the alphabet. Others include more advanced skills like reading, math and strategic planning.

"It's important that parents choose a program appropriate to their child's education and skill level. Even more importantly, it's important that their child is enjoying the computer experience for maximum benefit. With moderation and parental supervision, a computer is an invaluable learning tool for young children" says Seba.

Parents can pick up a free report to toddler-proof their computers and learn about educational computer programs at http://www.malcolmsweb.com/computertips.html

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