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1001 Computer Words You Need to Know$
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Jerry Pournelle

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195167757.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Eight Simple Rules for Kid-friendly Computing

Eight Simple Rules for Kid-friendly Computing

(p.171) Eight Simple Rules for Kid-friendly Computing
1001 Computer Words You Need to Know

Jerry Pournelle

Oxford University Press

There’s no shortage of fear, uncertainty, and doubt when it comes to kids and computers. If your children don’t have access to a computer, the conventional wisdom goes, they won’t learn the skills they need to do well in college and to get a good job. If they do have access to a computer, they are at risk of being exposed to everything from predatory Internet creeps to spam, viruses, and lawsuits from the RIAA. There are, however, a few common-sense guidelines that you can follow to help make sure your children’s computer use is as safe and as rewarding as possible. 1. Make sure the computer area is set up correctly for little bodies. If you share a computer and desk with your children, make sure that they can change the height of the chair or keyboard tray, or even swap out your full-size keyboard and mouse for one made for smaller hands. Make sure your children learn good ergonomic habits early—they should take regular breaks from the computer. (There are quite a few programs you can download that give gentle and regular reminders to take a break.) 2. Keep the computer where you can keep an eye on both it and your kids. Many experts suggest that family computers be kept in open or common areas of the house, not in a child’s bedroom. This lets you be aware of what’s on the screen—an IM session? A game? A report for school? Or a questionable website? (FYI: if you see the acronym “POS” on the screen in an IM window as you walk by, it means “Parent Over Shoulder.”) 3. Spend some time using the computer with your children. Even if it’s only losing to them in their favorite game, spending time together lets you model good computer use. Show them your favorite Web site, or ask them to help you shop online for a present. Check the weather where you are, or where their grandparents are. Look up the lyrics to a song they like. Ask them what their favorite sites are, and visit them together. If they are at home while you are at work, IM them or send them e-mail.

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