School Projects and Computer Use – What Are the Risks?

It is estimated that kids and teens as well as adults between the ages of eight to twenty-four spend approximately 44 hours a week in front of personal computer monitors. About 25% of kids and teens are reported to be addicted to computer games. That definitely breaks down into more percentages of males and females. It’s not uncommon for kids and teens to play day after day at their favorite computer games as well as surfing the Web for hours on end. What’s worse is the fact that their addictive behaviors carry over to their schoolwork as well.

One of the main causes of computer use among kids and teens is because of the easy access that the Internet has provided. The Internet offers a plethora of websites that kids and teens can visit and get exposed to various social networking websites that can be addicting. The Internet also provides a platform where kids and teens can meet individuals that can be potentially dangerous. These are the reasons why school students are more susceptible to computers and Internet use.

The main reason why kids and teens are drawn to websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter is because they allow them to interact with other people. However, just like with anything else, kids and teens need to exercise caution when giving out personal information online. In fact, it’s advised that as little as possible is revealed about yourself on the Internet. You should make sure to use the extra effort to make sure that the person you’re talking to isn’t actually a predator.

Another good news is the fact that there are some websites that actually exist to help kids and teens understand how safe it is to give out personal information online. They have tools that allow kids to explore different online safety tips. They provide explanations of why kids and teens should only give out personal information on websites that they know and trust. Most of these websites are also free to use. This is good news for most parents who are worried about how their kids are getting online without parental supervision.

As a parent, you also need to make sure that your kids understand the importance of keeping their computers and Internet usage under control. Computers and the internet can be powerful things if a kid uses them irresponsibly. They can easily get into trouble by downloading viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. They can also easily get into fights and have horrible, vulgar conversations in chat rooms. Therefore, in order to protect your kids from the dangers of the internet, it’s important that you teach them good internet safety habits at home.

For one, kids need to learn not to share personal information online. As much as possible, kids should not be allowed to go online and visit adult websites or chat rooms unless they are very old. This way, they will not be exposed to online predators who could use video games and other technology to befriend kids and then try to exploit their computer skills for sexual purposes. Although most kids and teens today are into online games, they should still be around their parents and not be too far away from them even when they are playing video games at home.

Another good thing to do is for kids to set limits for themselves when it comes to using computers at home. Let them know that computers and video games can actually help them in school projects but not everything that they see online can be true. Also, let them know that there are consequences to using a computer and they should refrain from doing things that might cause damage to their computers. Kids can be more careful with their computers but parents must still monitor them especially when they are using their computers for school projects and other serious activities.

In conclusion, although many parents are worried about their kids and teens spending too much time online, the fact of the matter is that online gaming does not necessarily lead to bad habits. There are actually many benefits that come with using computers and video games especially for kids and teens. Video games help children learn skills such as problem solving, patience, and decision making. It also helps them develop their critical thinking and computer skills that are very important in school. With that said, it is important for kids and teens to learn proper computer usage because it will prevent them from being predators online and maybe, even to save their lives someday.