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Computer Learning / Entertainment for Kids

Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Computer Learning / Entertainment for Kids
By N.L. on Friday, July 9, 1999 - 10:43 am:

Kid City Sticker World is a special Web environment created for 6- to 12-year-olds by Children's Television Workshop to challenge young minds and promote social interaction. Within this safe online world, your child can play games, collect and trade electronic stickers, build a Web page, and be part of the coolest kids' community on the Internet.

http://www.ctw.org/stickerworld/parents_popup/1,2715,0,00.html
---------
I just got a phone call from a friend with 3-5th graders. They got my email about this and were on line. She said echoes of "Coolest", "WOW", "OH, LOOK!" were hurting her ears. My friend works with computers so she is as excited that there was something which excited her kids, too.


By Cornelia on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 6:47 am:

There is a related discussion over in the Consumer Reports section of this forum concerning Software for Children:

http://www.tokyowithkids.com/discussions/messages/42/69.html


By Cornelia on Friday, December 1, 2000 - 7:28 am:

I was browsing the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) English web site at http://www.nhk.or.jp/index-e.html and found under the "SUPERTEACHERS" link a neat opportunity to ask "teacher" a question directly. Some teachers available include Jackie Chan (movie actor), Frank Drake (astronomer), Jane Goodall (zoologist) and many, many more.

Selected questions will be answered while filming the program "Superteachers". I'm not sure if all email questions will be answered, if not on film, at least off film. It looks like a great chance, to provide kids a forum in which to formulate good questions.


By niji on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 5:53 pm:

hello,
i am looking for a tutor who can teach my child beginning java computing. location is at azamino area of yokohama. thinking of a schedule something like 2 times per month, for around 2 hours each time. fee negotiable. will pay round trip transportation both ways. instruction can be in either
japanese or english.
thnx niji[at]azamino.com


By Marg Entwistle on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 5:29 am:

Hi!

My name is Marg and I live in Canada. I found this great site about a year ago while researching for my parenting site....and just thought I would come back and check it out!

My husband is in the IT field and his new job is supporting a Japanese client..lol...lucky him has to works nights here to support his client during the day...so that's what triggered my memory!

I came across a neat online dinosaur site/store that a mom in Japan started but can't find it! Does anybody know of it?????

Thanks very much!

Marg


By Cornelia on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 2:31 pm:

Rainy Day possibilities: websites where kids can play on-line

http://www.crayola.com/ (games, such as creating your own fireworks show, choosing a top and bottom for a monster, naming it and printing the page out for coloring. Some games require the latest Flash player, but others don't.

http://www.noggin.com/ (pre-schoolers, no reading ability required)

The four below are all produced by the same parent company and there is plenty of cross-linkage (and advertising).
http://www.kidsdomain.com/ (for kids from 3-12 and their parents and care givers)
http://www.kaboose.com/index.html
http://www.funschool.com/ (pre-school through grade 6)
http://www.zeeks.com/ (pre-school through grade 6) Includes about 170 games that you can play. Some require the latest updates of Shockwave (Macromedia) but some don't. Different games require different skills. For example in the Alpine race you need to know left and right.

The current poll question at Zeeks shows you who is writing the web site. There isn't even a "none of the above" option. I used to do my chores first thing when I got home from school. Heck, I also had a couple to do in the barn before I left to catch the school bus! A lot of people I knew went to sports practice, etc.:
*What's the first thing you do when you get home from school?
*Wash your hands, Get a snack, Turn on the T.V., Do your homework, Play video games, Go to the bathroom

However, don't let me sound negative. There's lots of useful stuff on these 4 sites. For example, there is loads of free clipart. Here's an example of realistic dinosaur clipart: http://www.kidsdomain.com/brain/dino/clip1.html
You can print it out and make dino flash cards for example!

http://www.barbie.com/ We were able to use this with our old Flash player less than a month ago, but now the latest Flash version (free download Macromedia) is required and I am scared to attempt any more software upgrades on my pretty full hard drive.


By Pato on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 2:23 am:

Loreal kids products website also has a couple of games for kids:
http://www.lorealkids.com/masterpiece/index.html

PS. I think they also have them in French and in Spanish if you go through from the start and pick a country flag: http://www.lorealkids.com


By julia garcia on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 8:54 pm:

Hi everybody,
I have found a very nice web for my 3 and 6 years old sons.
www.childtopia.com has lots of free educational games and our kids enjoy them very much. I hope you like it. Have fun!


By Cornelia on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 2:18 pm:

My daughter's friend from school introduced her to a website called http://www.miniclip.com which has a lot of games to choose from for older kids (she's age 9 now). Her friend likes RuneScape, but he says there are people as old as 20 playing that. I haven't had time to check it out.


By Hill on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 8:34 pm:

We just tried "Add 'em up" from the same site. Addicting and educational! I've been wishing for a way for my daughter to practice just the concepts this game teaches. Thanks for the tip!


By Cornelia on Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 8:25 pm:

Here's another great place to start from for on-line fun:
http://kids.discovery.com/

and I figure most people already know about http://www.neopets.com. It deserves a mention too. There's constantly new stuff being added.


By Peter E on Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 9:13 pm:

As long as you are ok with the fact that neopets is run by members of a cult (CoS), by all means use that.

I guess it really depends on the age group and whether you let your kids have computer's in their rooms or not.

Friends in the internet business who know the sordid side strongly suggest that the computer is kept in the living room where the child can be observed at all times. Both for their safety and YOUR peace of mind.


By Scott Hancock on Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 10:01 pm:

Don't know about neopets being run by a cult (Does CoS mean Church of Scientology?) Seems more like big business. Also check for yourself some other potential concerns:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neopets#Controversy

But, both Neopets and Runescape are very good reasons to keep the computer in view of parents of young kids.

Cornelia- have you looked at Runescape? I'm surprised you would recommend it. Isn't it a bit of a flag that 9-year olds are playing with 20-year olds??

Also, a lot of these type of interactive sites are where spyware & other bad stuff comes from. To let kids just click away on these things without supervision or strong PC defenses is asking for various kinds of problems.

My .02.


By Leese Johnson on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 9:06 am:

That is a good reminder for any parent with internet access in their home. Keep the screens out. Meaning-the screen of the computer should be able to be seen by anyone nearby. All computers with internet have their screens facing the middle of the room (a high traffice room) AND they can never go online without an adult home. We periodically check internet logs for accountability, too.
Having once worked at an internet company I had thought bad sites didn't "pop" up on your screen unless you went there. Well, DH & I surfed a Chamber of Commerce website looking at a city to move to. We clicked on a business for computing and WHOA! did we get a surprise. I'm so glad the kids were in bed. Quite graphic. So if you think you have to be "looking" for those sites- Be Warned. Keep your screens out and monitor internet usage while it's happening. Bad stuff is hard to erase from a person's mind.
Leese


By Suzanne on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 11:33 am:

There was a really interesting article titled "Through his Webcam, Boy Joins a Sordid World Online" published in the New York Times on Dec. 19th. The link to it has expired but I have it on PDF file, if there is any way to post that here.

It's an article about a boy who was lured into an Internet porn business when he started going into chat rooms at the age of 13. His mother never got suspicious because he told her that he was running his own webpage business, which was how he explained to her all the things he had been receiving. Some very sick individual taught him how to set-up a website of his own and accept payment in different forms.

The bottom line is that children need to be monitored when they are on-line - there are people out there who are good at convincing kids to do things that are unacceptable.

Admin- is there anyway I can send you the PDF file?
Suzanne


By Admin on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 1:28 pm:

Hi suzanne,
I don't like pdf files. I like text files (txt). Is the pdf that you have readable as html?
if you click on contact admin in the left hand column, you will find a way to contact me directly.


By Scott Hancock on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 1:31 pm:

Why don't you like PDF files, Cornelia? They're almost public domain anymore..
Scott


By Cornelia on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 2:13 pm:

This site is for families living in Japan with a Japanese language handicap. So information for all kids, from age 0 to age 100 is acceptable.

In our case internet time is severly constrained by:
* there only being two computers connected to the internet
* the hardware/software configurations being largely incapable of running quite a bit of stuff on offer
* a highly packed after school activity and homework schedule
All computers are in the same room (where dining, homework and projects take place). We have another computer that is not internet connected but has the World Book encyclopedia on it. My friend from college and father of four now teenagers says the easiest way to control internet access is at the modem or ADSL box! Just unhook the connection if something's fishy. It will get a response and then you can hammer out the details.

I do agree that parents involved with their kids and doing many things together with their kids, will be able to prevent nasty things far more easily than households where kids can hole up in their own rooms easily. Even when my daughter goes up to the bedroom (which we share) I know what she's doing, because I go up and check. Also, when she sees something on the internet or in a movie for which she requires an explanation, it is my chance to tell her if it is a good thing or a not very good thing. For example, she saw some photos briefly of hangings and piles of bodies at a death camp in the movie _The 5th Element_ which started a discussion about war, and how humans are likely to treat each other if they can get away with it. I feel these are very important discussions about morality winning over animal instincts, and power being kept in it's place and on a strict leash, and so on. We also talk about the concept of "choice". A lot of times I think parents avoid discussing these hard topics because they want to "protect" their kids from the uglinesses and injustices out there. But I think that without these discussions, my daughter will not have the data she needs to be able to choose responsibly. We have also started talking in more detail on the topic of sexual predators. This started when a stranger kicked one of her school mates on the tram a couple of months ago. It started with "why a stranger is not supposed to kick a kid" but quickly went on to why is it exactly that "I have to be watch out for strange men? What are they going to do to me?" The sad fact of course is that I had to go ahead and broaden the playing field to include men who are not strangers, since of course about 99% of sexual predators are people we know, sometimese even trust.

In general I think that an age gap is not necessarily a depravity sentence. Kids often learn faster from older kids just because of the "cool" factor. It's like mentoring. I have to keep an eye on it, like on a camp fire. Blanket ruling out of relationships with older people is ultimately very defeatest. Kids need older people as role models both for positive attributes and for negative attributes. Thus the discussions on the meaning of "choice" and additional discussions on anaylisis of data, what is a negative, what is a positive, and why choose one to emulate and not the other, etc.

The bottom line is that as a parent, I will not be around to protect my kid from every bad thing all the time for the rest of her life. I have to teach her how to do it for herself. It's not a question of "will a bad thing happen to my kid?". It's simply a question of "when?" and "will she be able to come out of it in one piece, more or less?" Not every day, but when the subject comes up, we talk about possible scenarios and what she can do about them. What do you do when a man (or another kid) on the train kicks you? How about if he touches you under your dress or anywhere at all for that matter? And so on.

By the way I found a book this moring that is written manga style (in Japanese) about what bras are for, and how to get the right size, and the appearance of the breast as women age, etc. I was quite surprised at the content, because it is so comprehensive. It seems to be overkill. And I can't tell for sure, but I think that it may be sponsored or written by Wacoal (a Japanese underwear company). I think I'm going to get it so that it's there for when she's ready, since her school (a private "international" school) shows absolutely no signs of including any sex education in their curriculum.


By Suzanne on Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 7:44 pm:

I think it's great that you've been really open with your kids on what they see on the internet. Unfortunately, I don't think you're the norm. I think there are many parents out there that have no idea what their kids are viewing or even what is available to people on the internet.

The article that I mentioned talks about a boy who was lead into the porn industry and it sounds like his family life was dysfunctional. I would guess that the dysfunction added to the problem.

My kids are young and have very limited computer access, but with so many schools pushing technology earlier and earlier, it's always good to be aware of what is out there.
Suzanne


By Cornelia on Friday, February 17, 2006 - 9:24 am:

Dear Suzanne, I actually think it is not good to let kids use computers extensively at too young an age. (I believe that communication/empathy skills go undeveloped for too long, if very young children are not immersed in person to person contact). I did not encourage my daughter to use computers at all. She more or less chose when she was ready to start using the computer (around age 5.5 and this was totally a result of her two "brothers" playing Sims and her wanting to join in). We had received software such as Jump Start programs and so on, but I never installed them for her to use. However, this was my own decision, and I do not expect anyone to do the same as I did nor to arrive at the same conclusions that I did. I may have made a mistake. Or maybe I didn't... she seems to have caught up! The first thing I let her do was draw some pictures using Adobe Photoshop when she was about 4. But she was not clammoring to do more, and so she didn't!

Basically, I use a computer around 8 hours a day (often more), and I am sick of it when the time is available to play with my kid. So we always have done other stuff instead. My daughter (correctly) sees the computer as her adversary in getting "Mom's attention". I have also told her that the computer is just a tool, like a cooking pan or an electric drill, but she's not that dumb. She knows that if I sit down at the desk, I can easily get dragged in for 2 or 3 times the time that I say I will spend there, whereas cooking time is pretty much over when the food is eaten.

The bottom line on keeping up a wall between your kid and unsuitable material is your internet connection. Just set up a computer for your kid(s) without internet capacity! They don't need to use the internet at all, if you don't want them to. There are plenty of other ways to provide computer games. My daughter is heavily into Nintendogs at the moment (a DS game), and hasn't tended to her Neopets in about 2 weeks at least. She only has time for Nintendogs on weekends anyway, because of all her other responsibilities.

The interesting thing about Nintendogs and other games, is that they are topics of conversation with her peers, and they teach each other how to solve certain problems in the games. They learn more this way than by "reading the manual". Well, we all know it is easier to ask someone to show us how, than to read the manual! Seems that this is a human trait, not just a lazy man's trait!

P.S. To my knowledge my daughter has not seen any sexually graphic material on the computer. But she sees kissing and sexual material (and sexual advertisements) in various public places and in movies. And we talk about that too. Right now, getting that close to someone is "yucky" to her. But I know for a fact that in her PE class the girls have started comparing breasts when they change their clothes. 'Cause we've talked about that too. I do what I can to help her get the facts straight, if for no other reason than to help squash some of the non-facts that come from other kids! I figure I have about another 2-3 years before she starts pretending not to listen to me anymore!


By Admin on Friday, February 2, 2007 - 6:38 pm:

I.T. (Information Technology) for kids!
There are some pretty strict rules here:
http://www.matmice.com/signup.shtml
Where kids make their own websites free!


By Amira on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 3:30 am:

i really want a sight for my 4 year old son to teach him how to read not play games! games is ok! but educational stuff like abt planets,mountains and plants and science stuff.cuz if i sit with him and try he gets bored! thanks


By Shelley_bearse on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 10:20 am:

I have a computer school for kids - TechnoKids Japan. For kids from 4- 18. These classes teach kids how to use a pc - in keyboard and mouse skills, but also how to create a powerpoint and give a presentation, how to research on the internet, how to use word, edit photography, create movies. The kids learn.. while they are having so much fun.
TechnoTime allows the kids to play educational games on websites that we have taken the time to find.

If you are interested please post a message here.. or visit www.technokidsjapan.com


By Yuko_k on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 10:44 am:

Hi Amira,

Why not go OUT with him? Sure enough, games are extremely attractive and "sitting" cannot compete with that, but the outside world can often be as attractive especially for a 4 year old boy.

Show him how fun it is to ride different types of trains or buses or even to drive different roads on your car. Show him what goodies he can eat only if he goes out.

If you can read some Japanese, there are several illustrated guide books for parent-and-kid-outings. Take a look at a larger book shop near you. Or of course, I'm sure members of the forum can share their experiences with you as well.

If you live in Tokyo, the Hanegi Play Park is a nice place to adventure with nature. If you live near Yokohama, there are several log houses where kids can climb and jump on natural material.

Go to train museums, zoos, aquariums, science museums, the planetarium in Ikebukuro Sunshine 60. You can also try board games instead of video games. Kids that age can enjoy Othelo or Uno that are available at toy shops and supermarkets.

Checking your local ward office (kuyakusho) or international exchange lounge to see what family events are available can help too. I can't tell you how addicted my son was to video games (and addiction can really be scary), but he did enjoy going to neighborhood festivals and things like "a day of fish market visit, sushi-making and bay cruise".

I'm sorry the info are mostly in Japanese, but the following are links to the places I mentioned above and many more. Remember, in order to get children to have fun, parents need to show that they're having fun themselves!

http://www.playpark.jp/
http://shinagawa-aquarium.sblo.jp/
http://www.tokyo-zoo.net/zoo/ino/index.html
http://www.date-navi.com/museum/densya-bus.html
http://www.jsf.or.jp/eng/
http://konicaminolta.jp/manten/
http://plaza.rakuten.co.jp/tararagrass/3000/


By Abinitio on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - 1:04 am:

An excellent site for preschoolers and early elementary kids to learn the alphabet and develop reading and writing skills is http://www.starfall.com. The kids love it.


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