Public Release: 

Parents need to integrate Internet into child's everyday life

University of Toronto

Parents should strive to integrate the Internet into their children's everyday experiences, according to a new book examining the role of the Internet in child development.

Arlette Lefebvre, co-author of Taking Your Kids Online: How and When to Introduce Children to the Internet, suggests looking up pandas following an outing at the zoo or taking a virtual trip to Greece after dinner at a Greek restaurant. "The point is to integrate what you do on the Internet with your child's development and cognitive abilities," she says. "Even Winnie-the-Pooh needs to be interpreted by an adult at the beginning."

Parents need to become familiar with the Internet so they can travel the Web together with their children, answer their questions knowledgeably and serve as role models for good Internet usage, says Lefebvre, associate professor of psychiatry at U of T and staff psychiatrist at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Lefebvre and co-author Brian Hillis offer suggestions for optimal Internet usage with children of different ages and developmental levels. "Ultimately, parents are the best judges of what is quality and value for their children in their home, and that includes the Internet." The book is published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., and will be launched in June.

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