Parents guiding young children's emerging computer knowledge

Helen Mele Robinson, Fordham University


Computers are an integral part of daily life in American society. For success with educational endeavors, as well as integration into a technological society, guidance and acquisition of computer knowledge need to be part of a child's learning experience. Parents and educators seem to agree that children need to be proficient computer users and need to be computer literate. This current study examined the approaches used by parents with their 6-year-old children interacting with computers in the home setting. Computer knowledge being an emergent skill analogous to literacy skills is the perspective being considered for this research study. The research design utilized qualitative and quantitative research components to consider: parent perspectives about computers, strategies used by parents when guiding their children at the computer, and parents offering their children access to computers. A parent being in close proximity to guide their young child at the home computer was an approach utilized by participant parents. Consistency between and among parents with strategies used to guide their children when assistance was needed was noted in participant parents. Children being offered access to computers at the age of 2 or 3 years and in locations outside the home setting were common characteristics of study parents. Further research that is needed includes: (a) exploration of the emergence of computer skills in young children in the home setting, to enable an understanding of computer attitude and aptitude children bring to the school setting; (b) considering an integrated computer literacy model for a developmental contextual approach to understand the emergence of computer knowledge; and (c) examination of the quality and quantity of talk occurring at the computer between individuals interacting with computers and the computer program or web site. This study validated the importance of parents to support, guide, and offer access to computers for their young children in the home setting, which enabled the children to have sustained successful interaction with the computer.

Subject Area

Educational software

Recommended Citation

Robinson, Helen Mele, "Parents guiding young children's emerging computer knowledge" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3208581.