Help! My son is a computer geek!

Not that there is anything wrong with that! I am just clueless as to the best way to help him develop his talents. He’s only four, yet is more proficient with the computer than most of the adults that I know, in fact, anything I can do on the computer, he can do. Anybody know of any good books or software? Most of the children’s software that I’ve been finding has been of the “click til something happens” variety and I’d like something more challenging. Also, I’d really like advice from any tekkies out there; what did your parents do to help (or hinder) you?

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein

If your son likes to write/make up stories, I recommend Storybook Weaver. It lets you choose from hundreds of backgrounds, objects, people, buildings, vehicles and sounds to create a picture story. It’s lots of fun, very creative, and was dirt cheap to boot. We bought it for the library I used to work at and the kids loved it.

Whatever you do don’t get him anything that uses a programming language! Grown men routinely destroy whole systems with one wrong command. Seriously though…get him some games like Reader Rabbit, or in a few years the Math Blaster series. Also look into Living Books cdroms. They are very popular with kids of all ages at the library in my town.

Your son is DOOMED! DOOMED I tell you! Either he’ll become a programmer making millions, or a hacker doing 15-20!

(Oh, of course I’m kidding…)

Yer pal,

Satan, you say you are only kidding, but that happens to be one of my parenting nightmares. Thank goodness he hasn’t figured out our internet password…yet.

Christmas is coming up and I have a feeling Santa will be dropping off some of the programs ya’ll suggested. :slight_smile:

I’m also thinking about getting a junker computer and letting him & his dad take it apart so he can see what’s inside.

When I was a kid, we had a Commodore computer that you could write little programs on, it was a lot of fun. Can you do those things on today’s computers? Sorry if that’s a dumb question, but I really am clueless. I’m willing to learn basic programming if it will help me teach my son, but I have no idea whatsoever where to start! If any one can help me, I would be most appreciative. It’s very frustrating for Nicholas, he wants to learn so badly but I’ve already taught him everything I know about computers. Again, thanks for the help!

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein

I have a six year old daughter who’s very computer literate. I think the only way anybody learns anything about using a computer is by using one, so I encourage her to play all she wants. She’s pretty fearless anyhow, so she’ll try anything.

I would also recommend the Reader Rabbit programs. Lego Island is also a big favorite now. The Disney animated storybooks have been big hits. There’s lots of stuff out there, and as with software for adults, its of varying quality.

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

Get him an old, cheap TI calculator with BASIC like a TI-82. You can do some pretty advanced stuff with TI BASIC, but it is a cinch to learn. If you want some more advancement, I would suggest a TI-89 for the variable commands.

There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men.

–Edmund Burke

I don’t know something about computers and 4 year olds… I would send him outside with a baseball.

Or have him hit his sibling :slight_smile:

I just know too many computer geeks that are grown up now and have no social skills. I had one friend 36 years old and can’t pick up a girl. That is something you should’ve learned by now.

Of course being a computer geeks he makes 10 times what I do and could most likely buy any girl he wants :slight_smile:

My advice is to buy him an incredibly old, obsolete computer like a Commodore 128 or an Apple IIe, and a book on BASIC, then turn him loose. That’s how I got my start. I would probably be making six figures now if I hadn’t discovered girls and forgotten all about computers.

In defense of nerds, not all of us have an incredible lack of social skills, I am going to Homecoming this year with a date, eat lunch every day with friends where a debate between Linux and Windows 2000 is not standard fare, etc. I would say, go for it, let him spend as much time with technology as he wants, he will still want too go outside and play tag, etc. with his 4 year old attention span for BASIC, etc. I admit it, I cannot program for more than 45 minutes straight. I need to accept my problem, it is the first step toward improvement.

There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men.

–Edmund Burke

Probably just a phase, kids go thru those all the time.

Wow, now I feel so inadequate. My son is four (as of last month), and loves the computer, and does well with it, with his own games and surfing the web… but he still can’t say the alphabet (he has some very creative versions) and he still wears diapers 50% of the time. :frowning:

PS he’s better at the PlayStation than I am.

“Cluemobile? You’ve got a pickup…”
OpalCat’s site:
The Teeming Millions Homepage:

I don’t know if I’d go with Basic - it’s pretty ugly. But then most programming languages are.

To save some money, there’s lots of good free stuff out on the Web. The two general-purpose places I like: and . They both specialize in free software. Another one I just stumbled across reminded me of this thread, [www] They have a sort of draw-and-colour program for free download.

Just make sure he does get out and about once in a while.

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

When I was about 9 I checked out a book from my school library called “Invent your own computer games” (or something like that) that was all about BASIC programming. I understood some of it…anyway, my dad set up my computer to get into QBasic, and I started reading the book, copying things down, modifying things, and eventually making my own programs. Granted, my first programs were @#!$!y, but I got better. Now I’m 14, and I can program more than most people twice my age can. Learning how to program a computer (or TI calculator…) at an early age is (I think) a good idea. It worked for me!
(BTW, for a neat pic I made with nothing but QBasic, check out This pic. View it with 3D glasses! It’s awesome!)

Thanks for all the advice. Just in case you were wondering, I do limit my sons computer time and make sure he gets lots of playtime, but outdoors and indoors. He’s pretty much a normal four year old, even if he is the smartest four year old ever. :slight_smile:

KJ, I looked at your picture and even though I didn’t have any 3D glasses, I still thought it was very good. Actually, I thought it was pretty neat that you made it so that when it hit “here” it took me there. You are a very intelligent young person and also very lucky to have such an involved caring father. So many kids today don’t have that.

Opalcat, I hope you don’t think that my son is some kind of super genius or anything. He wasn’t potty trained until about 3 1/4, around the same time he started talking. I honestly thought he might be retarded! I’ve noticed that a lot of boys, no matter how smart, just take a lot longer to do those sort of things.

I’ve gotta go and check out all those links that ya’ll gave me. My son will be so excited!

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein

tatertot: You might want to check out with your son. It is my son’s favorite site :slight_smile:

“Cluemobile? You’ve got a pickup…”
OpalCat’s site:
The Teeming Millions Homepage:

Hey, there’s hope for computer geeks. I was a huge one. I knew everything there was, I was doing VB, I was into proggies and hacking. I pirated on Aol’s ShiZZa rooms… I was in deep. I also got beat up alot, was short, fat, and ugly. Had few friends, and was occassionally suicidal. Now, I’m reformed. Haven’t been on Aol for about two years. Rarely pirate (save the occasional game and mp3), and hell, women find me quite attractive (when I bother to comb my hair) I’ve been called charming, and I only lost as Prom King by one vote (and I sadly voted for the other guy). I’m an incoming freshman at college, joined the most prominant frat on campus, and have met hundreds of new people. There is hope. Trust me.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

Opalcat - My son has already seen and loves it! It’s too bad we live so far apart, I’d love to have another mom nearby who knows about computers and technology and could explain it to me. :slight_smile:

Homer/Ted - I think that my son will be okay socially, he’s always been a bit of a loner but I make a special effort to help him make friends and get along with others. Hopefully, by the time he hits jr. high (or whenever the popularity race starts) being interested in computers won’t be seen as “nerdy”. I’m mostly worried about my inability to help him learn computer stuff because I don’t know very much about it. He doesn’t read well enough to learn on his own, and his father works long hours, so the poor thing is stuck with me. I always vowed that when I had children I would support their interests and help in any way possible. The only problem is I assumed that they’d be interested in poetry or theatre;you know, something logical!

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein