Teaching Independent Computer Use for Young Digital Explorer
In a technology-driven world, the ability to use digital information is closely tied to success and survival. Young learners, born into a world operated with tablets, PCs, and smartphones, are in a particularly critical need to become digitally literate right from the very beginning of their educational journeys.
Digital literacy can be defined as the insight that allows one to use and share digital resources safely, ethically, and efficiently. However, digital literacy is still an unfamiliar concept to navigate for many, and it comes with its own set of challenges. If you are an educator—parent, teacher, mentor or the like, consider the following perspectives to help your young learners develop critical literacy in a digitally chaotic world.
How can we teach kids to be independent computer users?
Digital literacy can touch upon many aspects of Internet use, such as privacy protection, critical analysis of digital information, ethical use of digital platforms, and fair communication with others online. With children being not yet cognitively mature to navigate the depths of the Internet, parents, teachers, and guardians should consider placing the priority on safety and critical thinking skills:
1. Teach Internet Safety
Due to the many heinous crimes associated with the Internet, Internet safety is of primary importance when helping a child develop digital literacy. Of the many kinds of crime, grooming—the act of exploiting someone’s trust online to obtain something illegal—is often targeted towards young digital explorers, with data revealing 12-to-15 year olds being particularly vulnerable.
In the face of such threat, it is necessary to warn young Internet users of the dangers of strangers on the Internet and, with emotional care, state the potential consequences that grooming may lead to. To do so, educate them to never share any sort of personal information online with an unknown individual. Note that such sharing of information should extend to personal photos, contact information, passwords, family information, or links. Communicate clearly to the young Internet user that grooming is incredibly dangerous and to not form mental connections with strangers. It is also important to teach children to identify harmful content, warning them to never click on suspicious links.
2. Set Age-Appropriate Limits and Other Types of Parental Control
The Internet contains an unimaginably huge array of content, a lot of which is not suitable for young users due to its violent, illegal, or mature nature. As such, be sure to make good use of the Parental Control features on Windows. This comprehensive set of features allows you to keep track of your young one’s digital use without having to constantly supervise their screens from behind their shoulders. Consider these features offered:
- Sites deemed unsuitable for children are blocked: With blocked access to child-unfriendly sites, the chances of children coming across inappropriate content are slim to begin with.
- Ability to block or unblock specific sites on the Internet: In addition to child-unfriendly sites being pre-blocked, parents, teachers, and guardians can block or unblock additional sites as they see fit.
- Set screen time for young ones: Teachers and guardians who worry about young ones spending too much time on the Internet can easily restrict the amount of time spent.
- Obtain reports of young ones’ online activity: A highly helpful feature, parents and guardians can receive reports of their young ones’ online activity regularly, without having to worry if the young ones may be visiting inappropriate sites or spending money on apps without their knowledge.
3. Make a List of Digital Educational Programs for Your Children
In today’s digital age, there are a myriad of healthy digital games and learning programs for children, some with specific subject topics. Coding, for example, is made accessible and entertaining with children’s beloved Minecraft. Make a list of educational programs that your young ones may enjoy and have them explore their content.
4. Encourage Self-Discipline
Another aspect that educators often get concerned with is children’s lack of self-discipline once immersed in a digital world, whether it be because of social media, video games, or other genres of online entertainment. Self-discipline and the management of distractions, therefore, are pivotal for a child to maintain a balanced life between the real and digital world. Tools that remind a child to take breaks and maintain a safe distance from the screen are therefore important for good mental health.
5. Creating a Safe Environment for Digital Use
As educators, it is useful to create a tidy and supportive environment where the young explorer would feel safe and encouraged to navigate their digital spaces. If possible, try to be available to the child during their on-screen hours and actively encourage them to ask any questions they may have.
Acer TravelMate B3 11: Here to help young ones through their digital journeys
While education is undeniably the foundation to building digital literacy, the hardware given to a young digital explorer can make a notable difference as well. For an optimized experience, the Acer TravelMate B3 11 can support mentally healthy, safe, independent learning among young users due to a good combination of the following features:
1. Enhanced Privacy and Security
The Acer Travelmate B3 11 comes with features for added safety. With a webcam with privacy shutter, young users can protect themselves from unintentional image captures. It can also help avoid any spyware attempting to access the camera without the user’s knowledge – ideal for strengthening privacy for the young one.
2. Screen Distance Software
The Acer Travelmate B3 11 has a system to remind users to take breaks in set intervals. As such, young users wouldn’t be carried away in their video games, e-learning, or other online endeavors. More generally, the reminder to keep away from the screen every now and then can be important for young users, as near-sightedness is linked with inadequately long screen time, often developing between the ages of 6 and 14.
3. Good Compatibility with Windows for Parental Control and Enhanced Security
The Acer TravelMate B3 11 has good compatibility with Windows and its updated systems. As such, the aforementioned parental control on Windows and all the security systems it holds can be easily used on the Acer TravelMate B3 11.
4. Extra Durability in a Child’s Learning Space
Having passed an extremely rigorous MIL-STD 810H certification, the Acer TravelMate B3 11 allows users to delve into the digital world assured of the device’s added durability and low need for maintenance. The device, being largely spill-proof, shock-proof, and resistant to drops, is durable and can withstand the many possible accidents that may take place in a child’s learning space.
5. A Plethora of Learning Tools for Young Ones
The Acer Travelmate B3 11, having education as a design focus, is largely compatible with the variety of learning tools in Microsoft 365. This allows young ones to use the same device for both leisure and education efficiently.
Towards a digitally intelligent future
The learning and teaching of digital literacy is an ongoing journey, to be constantly updated as digital trends unfold. Of all, aspects of self-discipline and internet safety are particularly key for digital literacy among young children, who tend to be more vulnerable to misinformation and cyberattacks in a digitally chaotic world. Going into the digital age well-educated and well-prepared, therefore, is fundamental for child development. With the correct tools and adequate guidance, young digital explorers would be able to discover the world through the Internet in a safe space. These tips, coupled with the education-friendly and intricately designed Acer TravelMate B3 11, will construct an optimized digital experience for young ones.
Esme Lee is a science writer and editor in the UK, carrying a passion for tech copywriting. She has a background in educational neuroscience and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.