Independent schools will mostly take it for granted when setting homework that a child has access to a computer at home. A standard home computer should be perfectly adequate for homework purposes but try to ensure that your child has access to the same software that they are using at school, for example the same version of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

To ensure safe use of a home computer, children of primary age should be using it in a ‘public’ area within the house so you can monitor what they are doing and looking at, as you walk past. Computers in children’s bedrooms make it much harder for you to keep discreet tabs on what they are up to. Remember getting involved with your child while they are working on their homework via the home PC may well improve your own knowledge and understanding of how to use the technology to best effect.

Once children move on to GCSE and sixth form study, a computer of their own is most probably advisable, especially if you have a large family. Disputes over usage times may become too frequent and unbearable if they are all seeking to carry out research or finish that piece of coursework at the same time!
We are now in the age of the tablet and these have undoubted appeal to users of all ages. Some schools are beginning to introduce these in the classroom and their touch screen nature can make them very useable for younger children. With this in mind, it might be worth considering investing on one for the use of the whole family. From younger pre-school siblings, to school age youngsters to parents!

It is always important, whatever your child’s age, to set boundaries and rules for computer usage. Socialising via Facebook into the night will not do a great deal for their academic progress at school.