Wednesday, June 29, 2011

10 Concerns Parents Should Have About Computers in Kids Rooms

Many kids have their own cell phones and televisions. As computers have come down in price, parents can often afford to provide kids with their own computer as well. However, parents should give some thought to where their kid’s computers should be located. Your kid’s bedroom may not be the best choice.
  1. Skype – Most computers today come with webcams, and Skype can be downloaded free. With this combination, your child can video chat for free with friends, relatives and, uh, strangers. The video communication is two-way. That means, whoever is on the other end will be peering directly into your home, more specifically into your child’s bedroom.
  2. Chatrooms – Chatrooms have always been a bit unsafe for children to visit on the internet. It is easy for adults to disguise themselves as kids or for predators to present themselves as harmless and friendly. These situations can be more difficult to monitor when the computer is located in your child’s bedroom.
  3. Screen time – Easy access can mean too much access. Between school and home, video games, TV, movies and surfing the net, kids spend way too much time in front of screens these days. Keeping it out of the bedroom can help cut down on the screen time.
  4. Sharing – If your kids hangout in their room with friends, their friends will inevitably end up using the computer there. It can be difficult enough to monitor your own child’s computer activity, you don’t want to take responsibility for other people’s children too.
  5. Youtube – Creating videos and posting them to Youtube or facebook to share with their friends has become a very common source of entertainment for kids. It has also gotten kids in serious trouble in some circumstances. This is less likely to happen if the computer is in public family space.
  6. Environment – Computers all have fans to keep them cool. These fans can also attract dust to the computer and hinder its performance. Unless your child actually keeps their room clean and tidy, the physical environment may not be the best for a computer.
  7. Surfing – Unless you are comfortable with your child wandering alone in any and all neighborhoods of a large city, you shouldn’t be comfortable allowing them to roam freely around the internet by themselves. There are plenty of dangers there of various types.
  8. Maintenance – Although most kids know more than their parents about computers, they still don’t always take care of things the way they should, even it only means clicking a mouse. They may delay critical updates and warnings that are needed to keep their computer functioning properly. You are less likely to realize this until it is too late, if the computer resides in their bedroom.
  9. Printing – If they use their computer for doing homework, then they will likely need to print material as well. That means either putting a printer in their room, going through the hassle of transferring files from one computer to another to print or creating the ability to do that over your home network.
  10. Video Chat – Even if your child doesn’t turn on their webcam, they may access sites where others are using theirs, such as chat roulette sites. On these sites, you never know what or who is going to appear on your screen next. X rated scenes are not uncommon. Just another reason to keep the computer where it is easy for you to monitor the screen.
Kids are kids. They need their parents to take on the responsibility of watching out for them and not allowing too much freedom. They’ll have time enough for internet ‘privacy’, once they’re out on their own.

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Story by Coleen Torres

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