Essential Computer Skills for Kids Today

Kids can benefit from early training in essential computer skills. Teaching proper technique gives them a head start and provides a foundation from which to become proficient in the future.

Computer skills are important because technology is ingrained in so many aspects of our lives. They are essential for most jobs and are handy for online learning and listening to education podcasts. Almost everyone also uses computers for many hours of personal use.

Teaching children these skills allows them to safely and effectively operate computer devices. Early training allows the kids to start using computers for more complex tasks and to gain the education advantages that information technology offers. Here are some of the core skills for parents and educators to focus on.

Operating a Mouse and Touchpad

The most basic skill to master for a computer is using a mouse and touchpad. These used to select programs, open and close windows, resize pictures, and lots of other things.

Children should be shown how to operate a mouse placed on a mouse-pad, and how to click and double-click. They should be able to navigate a home screen, and be able to control where the mouse goes and what it clicks on.

Using a Keyboard

The next step is teaching kids how to type. Typing is how information is entered into a computer, and can handle many different functions. Typing can be used to write emails, enter website URL’s, control programs and applications, and lots of other things.

Learning to properly master typing at a young age is beneficial for children and can qualify them for jobs such as transcribing and data entry in the future, as well as any job requiring computer use.

Kids should be taught proper hand positioning for the keyboard. There are many different typing games (such as Jungle Junior), tutorials, and tests offered online that can help keep it fun while they learn. These range from teaching kids where to place their hands, which fingers to use to strike each key, and typing tests to check their spelling and words per minute.

Sending and Receiving Emails

Email is one of the most common forms of communicated used today, and the way most businesses communicate with their employees. Emails can be used for personal use as well, and help people stay in touch.

Kids should learn proper email etiquette and how to write formally. They should be shown how to create an email address, and how to view their inbox. It’s also important to learn about fraudulent emails, and the dangers involved to their computer’s health if opened.

Beginner Coding

Coding is the language of how computers work and is important to learn for kids interested in a computer science career, such as creating video games and animation.

It’s also just a good thing for anyone to have a basic understanding of to help understand computers as a whole better. Children should be shown the basic building blocks of coding to help prepare them for more complexities as they get older.

Computer Maintenance

For anyone that owns or uses a computer, a basic understanding of how they work and common fixes comes in handy. Kids should learn the basic components that go into a computer, and some ways of fixing it if something goes wrong. It’s always important to make sure everything’s plugged in!

Learning to be proactive in fixing simple computer issues will go a long way in making their professional lives easier.

Safe and Smart Internet Use

Learning how to safely navigate the internet is important for kids. The internet has become essential for work, entertainment and social connection. Knowing what’s safe and what’s not early on is very helpful. Kids should be taught how to enter URL’s and browse webpages but also shown what to watch out for.

Some level of cyber security knowledge is important. Cyber attacks commonly rely on user ignorance. For example, kids should be taught to only reveal private information, include passwords, to trusted people. And they should avoid clicking on links in emails without knowing the exact purpose.

Advanced Skills: Microsoft Excel

Kid learning Excel computer skills

Starting early is probably the best way to become good at using spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. And having this tool at their disposal allows a child to do many more things, from recording lists, to doing calculations and even some simple charts.

Having learned spreadsheet skills from an early age offers a great advantage when children grow up and enter the workforce. MS Excel is widely used in business, being one of the core software elements used across all industries. You can also expect the use of spreadsheets to continue far into the future since they offer a simple, powerful, visual way to manage information.

5 thoughts on “Essential Computer Skills for Kids Today

  1. I would have loved to be excellent in excel as early as college, but given that the technology at the time wasn’t as advanced — it was only during my actual work in a firm that I learned so much about data processing programs. It would be amazing to have my grandchildren learn these early on. Hoping as well though that there would be a good balance of them using computers because sometimes they might get too enthralled with it.

  2. This may sound silly but both my son and daughter learned to type without myself or my wife teaching them. How? By watching us. They are both 7 and 9, and they are typing better than my younger brother who is in his late 30s! Isn’t that nuts! I think it is important to show your kids by example even if they aren’t being taught directly. They are parrots when they are in their younger years and will learn most things with ease just by watching their parents.

  3. I’m not sure how you expect kids to learn Excel or where they will need it in their first few years in school. The same goes for coding. Unless your kid is taking advanced classes, I just don’t see coding being any type of priority and certainly not a necessity. Otherwise, this list is solid.

  4. These look like good skills for adults as well as kids. There are so many people who still lack a basic understanding of computers. Sure, everyone can type and play Solitaire with their mouse, but coding, Internet safety, or Excel? I think most people have no idea what that’s about.

  5. I remember when I was younger and I learned how kids are like sponges when it comes to learning new languages. Anyone who has been around 1-5-year-olds knows that the same thing applies to them learning about computers. That’s why I think people should utilize this window of opportunity to train them on more than just how to play games. This article makes some excellent points about teaching children computer skills.

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