At What Age Should Kids Start Using Computers?


Guest Post by Graham Milton

For any parent raising a child in this web-savvy world, the conundrum of when to allow kids access to computers and other electronic devices is a tough one. While you certainly want your children raised with every advantage, you probably aren’t too keen to expose them to the world of information and communication that is available on the internet (since much of it is not appropriate for young minds). So how do you know when it’s the right time to start allowing your tiny tots to try their hands at the keyboard? Here are a few guidelines to help you decide.

  1. Vision development. Just because an infant’s vision is fully developed by the age of 6-8 months doesn’t mean he’s ready to use the computer. But if you think that your child won’t be exposed to computers even at this young age you could be mistaken. For instance, you probably enjoy checking your email, reading blogs, or even using your computer to work from home. If you keep your baby with you, he will definitely learn to recognize the computer earlier than you think.
  2. Motor skills. By the age of one your child will have started to develop language and motor skills in most cases. And over the next year he will soak up information and interact with his environment, learning to walk, talk, and explore. While he may soon be able to climb on a chair to reach the computer, he is still too young to effectively use one. Still, you may opt to use your computer in its capacity as a media device (to play movies or music for your child, for example).
  3. Higher cognition. Once your child enters the toddler stage (2 years and older), he will be able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of people and environments. At this stage he can actually get begin to get some benefit from computer use, taking advantage of games and other content geared towards helping him develop motor and language skills.
  4. Socialization. Once your child reaches school age, he will likely gain access to the internet whether you want him to or not, both at school and through friends. In short, you will lose some measure of control over what he is exposed to online (especially if older kids are present). For this reason, it’s a good idea to talk to kids about the dangers of the internet and instruct them on acceptable usage before this occurs.

Monitored usage and site blocking. At some point you are almost certainly going to allow your children access to computers since denying them this essential tool could negatively impact their ability to function in the modern world. However, you can and should teach them what is appropriate, utilize software that blocks questionable sites, and monitor their usage. Whether they are searching for information for school projects, signing up for social networking sites, or playing their favorite online video game, you need to be aware of their habits so you can ensure that they are getting the most out of their time on the computer.


Graham Milton is a contributing writer for Download Free Games, where you can view Life Quest and find a Life Quest review along with countless others.


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    1. My 12 year old granddaughter hung herself. She was very much involved with her computer. A wise PhD computer professor just advised me that he does not allow his children until they are 16. I would really appreciate your opinions

  1. Here’s what I told my sister when she asked about if she should use educational sites on the computer:
    The more they use it, the more they’ll want to use it.
    I know research has been done on the highly addictive qualities of video games, especially for boys, but I find a similar effect with any kind of screens for my kids. With my first child, I let him play games on the computer when he was two. Life is easier when they’re not begging for one more thing, there’s no need, and time online takes time away from the other learning he could be doing that’s better for his brain.
    Just my opinion about those little ones on the computer.

    1. Note: my sister’s daughter was four I think, when she asked me the question about if she should have her child do educational things online. My kids are now 6 and 8 and they use the computer mainly for Xtra Math, about 10 minutes a day and then when they are at Grandma and Grandpa’s they play games.

  2. I have found a wonderful tool call Zoodles that locks down your computer as well as giving only age appropriate educational games for your child as well as sends reports weekly as to what they are playing and allows you to modify subject areas that you want your child to use the most. My girl loves it and it has been nice to have something to use on the computer and I don’t have to worry about ads and her clicking on other important things on my computer. Check it out!

  3. Ya’ll started this… There’s now need to back out now. This is a very controversial subject. Many claim that computer hinders a child’s development from their use and “time online takes time away from the other learning he could be doing that’s better for his brain.” Well it does the same with all of us. But, how can we stop it? We are being forced to expose ourselves to this technology. And because computers are a large part of the future, it would be “old fashioned” to restrict a child.

    Television has already done considerable harm to our children. Why not let them use computers. You think these boring toys they are developing are suitable for a child? How many times have you seen a child playing with a toy laptop? When was the last time you saw a child using some Fisher-Price developmental toy bought for his at Christmas? If he is playing with it, he’s pushing it around as a toy. He’s not concerned with the ABC’s the toy is capable of teaching him. The truth is, these items can do more damage to a child’s brain than a computer. What matter’s is that you are doing things with the child. Any parent that leaves their child unattended to a computer or game, to avoid spending time with them, that child need to have a poorly developed brain. You both must use it together. You cannot expect to leave them alone on a game or computer and expect for them to have a healthy brain. You can’t even leave a child in from of a book if you are not going to read it for him. it’s all about the time you spend with the child. A child don’t necessarily care what the two of you are doing as long as the two of you are together.

    There’s an interesting book we read in my Psychology class, entitled A While New Mind, by Daniels H. Pink. You should read it. It only costs about $10 and has been featured on Oprah. you have learned only one side of video games. mainly, because the media focuses on the negative. What they don’t tell you is that “Games are the most elevated form of investigation.” This was said by Albert Einstein. nevertheless, games have become a tool for solving problems as well as a vehicle for self-expression, according to Pink. James Paul Gee wrote, “…kids can experience a more powerful form of learning by playing video games than in a classroom. Listen to this, a study was done on visual perception and game players scored 30% higher than non-game players.” Learning isn’t about memorizing isolated facts, Pink states. It’s about connecting and manipulating them.”

    And check this out, another study revealed physicians who spent at least three hours a well playing video games made about 37 percent fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than counterparts who did not play. But, that’s not all. it has also been proven that playing video games can produce productivity and enhance job satisfaction. How’s that for a poorly develop brain?

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