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Keeping Up With Kids on the Computer

Boot Camp feature for Friday, May 19, 2000

Sometimes it seems like kids today are born knowing how to use all this high tech stuff... .

"It's pretty amazing. For the first time in history, the kids know something important, about something important, more than their parents."

Mark Ivey and Elizabeth Kemper are trying to turn the tide, managing the PC Parents program at Intel... conducting workshops for the masses of grown-ups struggling with all of this. The first conflict is often where to put the computer?... .

"We think one of the mistakes that parents make is they let the kid, let Johnny or Suzy control the whole situation, put it off in their room and it becomes kind of their own little personal experience."

I learned that lesson the hard way. Putting the PC in the family room or a common area of the house lets you set limits and practice what the PC Parents call shoulder to shoulder computing. You may not catch up completely, but you'll benefit and so will they. In more ways than one...

"A child without any kind of a computer background... and again I'm not talking computer programming background... but using a computer, is going to be at a great disadvantage as far as job skills are concerned."

Some other tips from the PC Parents Web site... Pick the right software for your children and rotate the programs to avoid burnout. And establish house rules governing cyber-safety, sharing and time limits. We've got more information on computers, families and education on the Web at ThirdAge.com Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.