Use Internet Safely for Homework Help

Every year, parents struggle with the new challenges of their kids' school work.  But this generation of parents has a tool all those before didn't : The internet.  The key is to make it work to your advantage.  A lot of new schools are now sporting shiny new computer labs like this one at Blanchard Elementary in Cape Girardeau. Studentslearn to type at least by the third grade, and almost from the get-go, they learn how to find things on the Internet.

"I try to encourage them to go ahead and go into our web page, our district web page, and then into the classrooms at our district web page at Blanchard," says Esther Rehbein, Blanchard's computer instructor.

One of Rehbein's students, Colby Burge, soaks up computer class like a sponge, and luckily his parents have a computer at home that lets him continue his surfing at home, especially when he looks for help with his homework. "There's lots of different stuff, if you ask questions about different stuff, it gives you answers you're not looking for," says Colby.  "And I play games that fill my head with interesting facts," adds his sister, Brooke.

But that can be a problem too.  Kids can wander into places on the Internet they're not supposed to go.  Colby's parents have some rules for that.  "I think it's great, but they need to understand that there are some websites that are not appropriate for them, and in our household, we have a rule that whatever webbsites we have bookmarked, they're allowed to acces, but if there's any websites they've heard about through friends or the school, then the're to come and get their dad or myself, and we will research them or go through them together to make sure they're OK," says Melissa Burge, Colby and Brooke's mom. " We have to ask my parents, and see what we can do," adds Colby.

Ms. Rehbein also says, "Taking the time, as a family just like you would watching TV programs and that type of thing.  It seems so easy for them, they're not afraid of anything."