A Guide to Computers for Kids

Photo courtesy of Flickr: Tampa Hillsborough County Public Library System

Computers are a huge part of our lives. Our cars have computers in them, our buildings are run by computers, and our cell phones have computers in them as well. You need computers to access the Internet, where you can find information on just about every subject you could think of. We rely on computers to help us do many of the important things we do each day, which is why it is important to understand computers and know how to use them. Take some time to learn as much about computers as you can before you use one to play your favorite game or access your favorite website.

Computer Parts

If you ever have to talk to a computer repair expert, then you will need to know what each part of the computer is called. The case holds all of the computer's parts and protects those parts from damage. The motherboard is the main board in the computer that all of the other parts are plugged into. The CPU is also called the processor, and it is the brain of the computer that is attached to the motherboard. Computer memory is made up of special chips that hold information that the CPU will need to make the computer run. The sound card creates all of the sound you hear, and the video card creates the images. You type on the computer keyboard, and the device you use to click on things is the mouse.

Taking Care of a Computer

Your computer is like any other piece of electronic equipment in that it needs to be taken care of in order to work properly. Always keep liquids as far away from your computer as you can because if you spill them, then you will probably need a new computer. Get a small vacuum and vacuum up the dust that has gathered around the openings in the back of your computer. This prevents dust from clogging those vents and stopping air from cooling off your computer. You should also keep magnets away from your computer, as a magnet could damage your computer and erase parts of its memory.

History of Computers

The first real programmable computer was invented by a man named Konrad Zuse in 1936. By 1951, computers as big as rooms were used to predict the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections. In 1953, IBM was formed, and it would become one of the biggest names in computer history. In 1974, IBM started to sell the first home computers ever made. Apple released its first computer in 1976, and that started decades of some of the fastest technological progress in the history of mankind.

Basic Skills

There are some core skills you need to have if you want to be able to use a computer well. Since the main method of communication with a computer is a keyboard, you should take some online lessons on how to type. Once you get used to it, you will find typing to be easy. You will also need to learn how to use a mouse. Every computer mouse has at least one button; most have two, a right one and a left one. In most cases, you move the mouse to put the cursor over a link and press the left button to go to the linked site. Some mice have extra buttons that have different functions and a center wheel that allows you to scroll through pages faster. Most computers come with DVD drives that require you to know how to load and unload the drive. The most important skill you will learn is how to use a computer operating system and an Internet browser.

Games and Activities

Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is to make a game out of it. There are plenty of games on the Internet that will teach you how to type, use a mouse, find information on the Internet, and develop the basic skills you need to find the information you are looking for online.

Computer Safety

You may have heard the term "computer safety" mentioned from time to time, but you may not know what it really means. There are all kinds of people on the Internet, and not everyone out there is a good person. When you are on the Internet, you should never give your personal information to anyone, especially your phone number or your address. Computer safety also means not downloading files from the Internet that could give your computer a virus. It is always a good idea to practice the best possible safety habits when you are online.

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