Modern children have scores of amenities that older generations did not. They have closets bursting with clothes, boxes full of toys, dressers filled with miscellaneous items. Every Christmas they receive more and more gadgets. They get televisions, Xboxes, Nintendos, iPads, iPods, cell phones and other items too numerous to mention.
One device that is frequently missing from under the Christmas tree is an item that can not only help them with their education but can replace a number of other items as well.
The computer has long been considered an adult-only device but it is the youth who had access to computers at a young age who are currently shaping our world.
Consider Bill Gates, who had access to computers starting when he was 13. He learned to program and combined it with his business skills to found Microsoft and become the world’s richest man. He now spends his time focusing on ways to help the poor.
Steve Jobs grew up in Silicon Valley near the homes of technology’s finest. He joined forces with another youth who was considered a computer whiz to create Apple, one of the greatest technology innovators in existence.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two computer geeks from Stanford University joined together to form Google, the biggest search engine of our time.
Mark Zuckerberg was another geeky college student. He used his knowledge of computers to create the one place online where millions of us enjoy spending several hours a day – Facebook.
Shawn Fanning was in college when he unwittingly revolutionized the music industry by creating Napster to share music among his friends.
All of these people were exposed to computers at an early age and thus better able to absorb information that would intimidate most adults. As with languages, children use different sections of their brain when learning and can easier accept and master computers when exposed to them at an early age.
I was personally exposed to computers in the eighth grade; learning to program, word process, create graphics and other things that I just considered fun at the time. I grew up to be a computer repair technician and learned how to write books about these wonderful machines.
My daughter has been using computers since she was four years old. At 12 years of age she knows how to do basic repairs on them and even shows her teachers how to fix problems that crop up in the classroom. She has even made money doing odd computer work for the parents of her friends.
Here are eight reasons why children should be given a computer:
1. Computer skills are essential in the modern workplace.
2. Computers enable students to research for school easily and inexpensively.
3. Computers enable students to create unique projects that stretch their imagination and enhance their creativity in a medium that is fun and educational.
4. Computers take the place of numerous items, saving hundreds of dollars for cash-strapped parents. Here are just a few:
- Telephones . Kids can have their own personal phone number for free with Google Voice and call friends for free using Skype or other instant messaging programs. A MagicJack enables them to call anywhere for $20 a year using their laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, saving the expense of a cell phone.
- Game machines . There are a number of games designed for personal computers that are available; a lot of these are online and free to play or download. With the cost of game machines sometimes being several hundred dollars parents could instead purchase a laptop that handles games and more for their child.
- Televisions . With more and more television stations offering their shows online parents can eliminate their cable bill and the need for multiple televisions by teaching their kids how to use inexpensive laptops to watch shows online.
- DVD players. Laptops can replace both conventional and portable DVD players. Kids can put the DVD into their laptop and play it wherever they may happen to be, saving parents the expense of yet another device. An external Blu-ray drive can easily be shared among computers, reducing the expense of owning multiple Blu-ray players in a household.
- Books . Physical books are getting even more expensive and authors ( including myself ) are turning to online publishing. There are an incredible number of books both modern and classic that are now available for free online. Children can install a reader from one of the many companies publishing ebooks and have an ever-expanding library of free titles to choose from to expand their horizons and stimulate their imagination.
- Encyclopedias and other research materials . More and more information is being moved online. Instead of buying an expensive set of encyclopedias that will quickly go out of date children can use the internet to obtain up to date information for free. The access to accurate up-to-date information will help children with their homework and thus improve their accuracy and their grades.
- Digital Media Players . Digital players like the iPod and iPad can be very expensive and easily lost or stolen. Instead of one of these, kids can use their laptop to listen to music on the go, saving money for their parents. The size of the laptop will prevent kids from listening when they are riding bikes or jogging so they will be more alert to dangers from passing vehicles and other obstacles.
5. Teacher communication. Students can email their teachers and friends when they get stumped on a homework problem. Some schools have forums where students can log in and receive free assistance from a tutor as well as other educational materials that the students can access online.
6. Geography research. Students can access Google Earth and other online portals to learn about the earth. This will enable them to access up-to-date online maps instead of being forced to use outdated globes. With the changing faces of world government, children can also learn immediately the basics about any foreign land like their language, leaders, terrain, culture and other items of interest.
7. Project ideas. Students can go online and look for project ideas instead of reusing the same boring ones their friends have used in the past. This will foster creativity and stimulate learning because the child will be able to locate an idea the suits his or her personality.
8. The longer a child has experience actively using a computer the more fluent and skilled they will become. This could lead to a lucrative position in the computer industry or provide them with the skills to help technology make another quantum leap, like others have in the past.
Consider the benefits of purchasing your child a computer during this holiday season. This is the one device that is becoming an essential in this modern age.