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The use of the internet and computers in schools is becoming increasingly important for learning, research and having fun, but how can we ensure appropriate, and safe use of such a phenomenal resource? ICT is covered in the Early Years Foundation Stage Areas of Learning and Development, so it is recognised that little ones of reception or pre-school age should be introduced to the computer.
The first thing is to do is chat with your child about the internet and what it can be used for. Show them your emails, show them how to type keys and letters on screen.
Try a bit of 'art' with a drawing package, make it fun and simple.
Talk about the internet and what can be found there. Look up a favourite character together, or a local landmark you have been to or a map of your home area. Keep it simple and fun!
As they become more confident and begin to work independently, just be there to guide and help them practice their skills, learn about the keyboard and navigate the child-friendly sites that exist.
Place the computer somewhere central so you can keep an eye on how things are looking. Don't put computers in the bedroom if you can help it. Make it a family event when you do some online games or learning together as a family. Talk about what you are doing on line and make it easy for the children to flag up a problem if they encounter something.
The internet is a fabulous resource, but be aware of the potential dangers of allowing little children too much access.