EDITOR, The Tribune
Bahamians, we are living in unprecedented times. Tuesday, March 24th. was our first day of 24hr lock down here in Nassau and it’s just one of the extreme but necessary measures to prevent the spread of this Coronavirus. For myself and others, it was my first full day home in a long time. My 7-year-old daughter reminded me of such when she woke up and said, “Dad you can’t go out to work today because of the Coronavirus. So you’re going to be stuck at home with me all day. Thank God!” I just looked at her and smiled.
So what do you do when you are stuck home with your kid all day…? Well after a day of maintaining a school-like atmosphere, you find some extracurricular activities. Being an IT professional and an involved parent, finding a way to healthily use technology vs being used by it, was crucial. Because of this, we created a to-do list:
• Create a secure Kids E-mail account
• Keyboarding practice (to learn how to type quickly)
• YouTube and Online learning videos
We first created a secure E-mail account. A secure E-mail account gives a kid the privilege of having E-mail but protects her from junk or unwanted mail. Essentially, parents or guardians have to create a friends and family list and approve whatever messages are sent or received. A few good options to do this are:
4 Great E-mail Providers for Kids are:
ZillaMail, KidsEmail, Zoobuh, and TacoMail
All of these are good options and most are free. I chose to use Zoobuh. It has a minor cost associated, but I used this service previously. Safe access to E-mail will no doubt contribute to her overall development.
Next, I searched for a software to help her learn how to type. This is something I did with my son (who’s an adult now); it made the world of difference in completing assignments and projects much faster. There are many good keyboarding tools and games out there and most of them are free. So a quick Google search will give you lots of options. I chose a software called Key Blaze. The proper use of the keyboard is an import skill. Firstly, proper typing can protect ones hand and fingers from typing related disease like the carpal tunnel syndrome. Secondly, it enables you to be proficient. This is very useful while searching the internet and typing documents.
Our final tech activity was YouTube. You can imagine the level of excitement here. We created a YouTube channel for her to practice her communication and self-expression. There are lots of good help notes on Google that can explain how to do this so here I want us to look at some of the benefits. Video production requires good communication, research and technical skills. This is a motivator. In order to use this tool effectively, you have to read extensively, research your material and organize your presentation in order to produce a good video. These are important skills that will transform any child’s development. The YouTube channel is public but any communication to the channel comes to me first. The idea is that she would use the channel to share positive material with her peers.
Teaching a child how to use technology properly is important. As a parent, if you aren’t intentional about helping your children use technology the right way, society will easily influence them on the wrong way. During my early years as a computer technician here in Nassau, I experienced this first hand. Taking the time to teach a child proper use of technology can make the difference.