I have debated the benefits of introducing the computer to Aubrey for awhile now. There is just something about sitting her in front of the computer to listen to books or play games that doesn't sit right with me. I just want my daughter to go outside and play and get dirty and use her imagination! But, she is almost 5, and it is now time to introduce some computer sites to her. For the past few weeks, I have been researching appropriate and educational sites for her to be able to visit, and I am pretty excited to show them to her over the next few weeks!
The first site is REALLY exciting: http://storylineonline.net/ which is a program of the Screen Actors Guild. This website is sooo easy to navigate, making it perfect for new Internet users. It has a lot of appropriate children's books that are read by celebrities, like Betty White reading "Harry the Dirty Dog." I was impressed with the way they brought the book to life. None of the illustrations were changed, and some of the pictures were made to move with the tone of the story. Also on the bottom of each book is a link to activities related to the book! This may be my new favorite website!!!
The next one is http://scootpad.com/. It is full of educational games for kindergarten and elementary school children. There is a parent section where I can customize what lessons I want her to learn or to reinforce what we have been working on. It also has rewards for the kids. I have it set up that once Aubrey earns 100 coins from doing activities, she will earn a mini Lala Loopsy doll set. She is the kind of kid that works best when she has something to work towards.
I think the biggest part of Aubrey using the computer, is the risks that go with her being online. It is such a complex system, that it would be easy for her to get carried away quickly. Therefore, I am establishing rules for computer use right away!
1. Aubrey will need to earn time on the computer. This can be done by helping with any "Mommy" task. These are tasks that are not part of her normal chores. Examples: sweeping the floor, dusting, folding towels, and washing dishes. These may seem like extreme tasks for a four/almost five year old, but Aubrey already enjoys helping me do these things. She is so helpful, and usually asks for ways she can help me.
2. All computer time will be monitored by an adult. No exception. Right now this is not that hard because the computer is in the kitchen at the desk, but I want to make sure that this is established right away.
3. Only approved websites are to be used. I have put a tab with Aubrey's name at the top of my browser with these websites.
4. Computer time is a privilege and will be taken away when necessary. Aubrey is going through an attitude stage right now, and I think this will be a really good incentive for a change in behavior.
If anyone has any other suggestions on introducing the computer/internet to a child, I would appreciate your input!!