It is common knowledge that the web is filled with potential dangers for our children. However, kids need to develop their computer skills in order to stay competitive in school, and one day, the job market. With that in mind, we present the following positive, educational or just plain fun activities that kids can engage in online.
Positive Online Activities for Kids
- Learn about their world. The web is home to some of the most comprehensive almanacs and encyclopedias in the world. The following websites are great resources for legitimate information online: http://www.encyclopedia.com/, http://www.wikipedia.org/, and http://www.britannica.com/. With just the click of a mouse, a child can not only learn about different cultures and bygone eras, they can see that information come to life with full color photos, videos and other multimedia.
- Keep in touch with family. Young kids and grandparents. A match made in heaven. But what if grandma and grandpa are thousands of miles away and are only able to make limited trips to see the family? Kids can use email to communicate with ALL their relatives around the world - and can even create a family website featuring photos and other cool information.
- Play educational games. Not all web-based games are mindless first-person shooters. Some actually have educational value. Do some Google searches to find the ones best suited for your kids - be they historical trivia quizzes or logic puzzles.
- Do research on their homework materials. Online, kids can gather all kinds of reference materials for papers, science projects, oral essays and other school assignments. (Note to parents: Be sure and check the credibility of the source materials your children use. Also, be sure to explain to them how "cutting and pasting" information on the web is plagiarism).
- Start a blog. Setting up a wordpress blog through Word Press is fun and easy. Why not sit down with your child and help them develop a blog about their favorite hobbies or interests? The child will be learning one of the most valuable web development skills out there today and engaging in a productive activity to boot.
- Get involved with a cause. There are literally thousands of websites devoted to informing people about important causes and charities around the globe. Many of these sites feature "KIDS SECTIONS" where young people can learn more about the topic and get involved. These kinds of activities illustrate one of the great, unheralded benefits of the Internet: that it makes our world smaller and connects us with one another in powerful ways.
The best thing to remember about kids and the Internet is to keep everything closely monitored and always in moderation. Set aside specific hours when you child can use the computer and always monitor that time as closely as you can. Ask other parents about the activities they engage in with their kids and get ideas from that community.