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Parenting - Guidelines for Computer Use Involving Children

Without warning, computers have rapidly found their way into living-rooms, bedrooms, and sometimes even into kitchens next to televisions. Even if there isn't a computer in your child’s room, it's likely that he or she is thinking about it in the same way a bike or pair of roller-skates crosses his or her mind. The question then becomes, “is it worth resisting it?”

Nowadays computers are so prevalent in our lives that children expect to get them. They are growing up in surroundings where computers are as common as electric lights or cars and mobile phones. But for parents, computers can be a headache. It can seem like they aren’t safe at first -- and not because it radiates something terrible – rather the main danger of a computer is in its infinite fascination. What happens is that many children and adults forget about some basic computer rules aimed at protecting their health. These include such suggestions as avoiding too much computer-use in order to prevent the destruction of eyesight, curvature of the spine, etc. Therefore, buying a computer that is useful, irreplaceable, remarkable, and a realistic necessity for a child is the responsibility of the parent. Some recommendations are listed below.


  1. The necessary age to buy a child his or her own personal computer:
    It is clear that a child who is not in school probably won’t want a computer. A 7-8 year-old student, however, will most likely approach a parent with the demand of "I want a computer!" These types of questions shouldn’t frighten a parent, and if possible they should purchase the child a computer. This is the age at which children comprehend the world actively, and during this time a computer can help with development of certain skills. Psychologists, for example, state that work on a computer develops concentration skills. There is, however, a disadvantage that comes with the advantage; moderate time at the computer improves concentration skills while excessive time at the computer worsens them. Therefore it is very important that a parent monitor time spent on a computer.
  2. How much time you can allow the child to stay at the computer:
    This type of situation should be a clear statement of your superiority as a parent. A child under 6 should not spend more than 10-15 minutes at the computer - and even then not everyday. For children between 7-8 years old, the time limit should be no more than 30-40 minutes a day. A 9-11 year old child should be allowed no more than 1 to 1½ hours a day at the computer.
  3. How to equip a computer place correctly:
    It is important to set-up a computer monitor so that direct sunlight and lamp-light do not fall on it. It is also preferable to arrange a monitor in the corner of a room or with its back surface against a wall. Do not, however, forget that a computer area should be well-lit. Air your computer room more often than you would a normal room.
  4. How to sit at the computer correctly:
    Do not forget that a child, not an adult, will be sitting at the computer so the size of the computer table and the chair must correspond to his or her height. Make sure that the child holds their back straight, that he or she doesn't cross their legs, doesn't bend their wrist too much, and doesn't throw back his or her head. It is possible to achieve a better posture for the child by putting a support under his or her feet. The monitor should be located in a way that the child directs his or her eyes to the center of the display. Be sure to check whether the monitor is straight, and whether or not the child has to turn to see it. It's better to arrange the monitor at a distance than to have it arranged wrong.

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