Life Skills

Technology 101

We know what you’re thinking: They’re digital natives! Don’t they know more than we do about this stuff? And yes, your child might have spent a year or more in recent memory learning via laptop. But now that they’re getting older and have more independent exposure to technology, it’s a good time to start building the skills to use those tools safely.

Your kid has already spent plenty of time learning via apps, games, and remote school. What more could they have to learn about using technology? During these years, as your kid blossoms in the complexity of their learning, they’ll be able to use technology to expand their thinking even more—but they’ll need support to make sure they navigate the digital world safely.

Here are some digital skills your child will build during these years:

1

They’ll navigate digital learning hubs with ease. They’ll learn to upload and share a document, use tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Google Classroom, and they might even start using digital tools for more creative pursuits, too—like creating art or making movies.

2

They’ll learn to type (sort of). By this age, your child is going to have to do more writing on the computer, so the ability to type proficiently will serve them well. You might be surprised that many schools do not teach touch-typing, though. If they haven't gotten quick at typing naturally, there are some free games that can help them build that skill.

3

They’ll use the internet for research. The internet is their oyster! There are so many great online resources out there for them, from PBS Kids to National Geographic and beyond—but as we also know, there are also many lesser quality websites peddling mediocre content at best, and at worst, outright misinformation. This is a great time to talk with your child about how to assess the validity of a source. Help them identify a “go-to” list of trustworthy online resources to use in their research. (Common Sense Media also has a great digital citizenship curriculum with activities for different age groups.)

4

They might start asking about a phone. This is also the time when mobile phones will become A Thing. By this point, most kids are well acquainted with mobile phones and tablets, but they may also start seeing friends get phones of their own. If the “when do I get a phone?” questions haven’t already started, get ready—they’re coming. We’ve got some tips for having that conversation.