Square Eyes or Genius? Are Online Educational Programs Good for Your Child?


One of the easiest tools that parents can use to help support their children’s learning is the internet. The internet can be used as a research tool or as a platform for educational games. I’ve written before about some of the top online maths programs that are currently available. There are paid programs at various price points and some great quality free online maths resources.

However in the back of many people’s mind’s is whether there are real benefit to exposing children to yet more screen time.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of online educational programs?

In this video, I share with you:

  • How much time my own children spend using online educational programs
  • The pros and cons of online educational games
  • How to choose and use an online program.

Key points from the video are shown below:

  • My kids play online nearly every day. My 9 yr old and 11 yr old are enrolled on Conquer Maths which I use to extend their maths learning.
  • My 4 year old is learning to read using the Reading Eggs program.
  • The older 2 are learning French and Arabic with Arab Academy and Smart FM.
  • Overall they  spend 20 mins on Conquer Maths, 15 mins on Arab Academy and 5 mins on Smart FM each day.

So what are the pros and cons of online maths  programs?


  • Kids do love computers – are more willing to learn at a computer.
  • Adaptive technology sets work to the right level.
  • The computer gives instant feedback as to whether the work is correct.
  • Foster independent learning skills.


  • Excessive screen time is not good.
  • Too much gameplay, not enough learning.
  • Children can get addicted to the online rewards.

How to choose and use an online program

  • Test drive the program for a few days
  • Find out how much time is needed to make good progress.
  • Pay close attention to the parental feedback.
  • Give plenty of online and offline verbal praise

What do you think of online educational programs?

Does your child use any?

How long do they spend on them each week?

Has their learning improved as a result?

Tell me in the comments below!

Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Square Eyes or Genius? Are Online Educational Programs Good for Your Child?

  1. Excellent discussion on the pros and cons of using online math programs. Not only do you explain the pros and cons you explain how to choose a program. Our experience with our grandson using online materials has been really good. After reading this article I can can see why the results have been so good.

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City USA

    • I’m glad your grandson had good results with his online materials, as with anything else, it’s important to find material that “clicks” with your child. I’m sure as the technology advances and the competition increases, these online programs will be more consistent in offering great features.

  2. My 5 year old son uses themathsfactor.com with carol vorderman every day for no more than 20 mins, and his mathematical ability has improved so much I wish I had subscribed to this sooner. His ability was very good beforehand anyway, but mathsfactor has now really increased his confidence, his love of maths is even deeper and he looks forward to going on it everyday. As long as you keep an eye on your child’s progress, sit with them on some lessons, offer lots of encouragement and praise, and show a keen interest in what they are learning then I see no problem with online learning tools at all. I will definately use this website with my daughter once she turns 4.

    • Hi Queenie!
      Thanks for sharing your son’s Maths Factor experience – I have a 4 yr old myself, many of the online maths programs such as Maths Whizz and Ten Marks are for kids aged 5+ so it’s great to know that the Maths factor arithmetic program works for 4 year olds. From what I’ve seen/heard, the arithmetic program uses lots of repetition but is balanced by the good graphics and rewards – has that been your experience?

  3. There is repitition on the mathsfactor, but its great as I believe this is the best way to really get the maths principles embedded into the child’s memory. My son’s mental maths is now sharper as a result. Also the website itself is bright and cheerful, and studying in short chunks keeps him more focused and less likely to get bored.

  4. yes, online education benefits the student and as well as the parent in many ways
    for eg: 1. It helps the student who has career in some other field, online education let them get the education and as well as excel in the sports simultaneously. When they go for the tournaments the athlete can attend the class from any place at any flexible time.
    2. Secondary is it reduces the transportation cost and the energy to rush to the school which is far away from your stay place.
    3. Allows student to attend the course beyond the geographical boundaries.
    4. Allows the students to choose the customized curriculum based on their interested subjects.
    5. One can get back on track and gain their lost credits.

    These are only few listed out of many. I really feel glad to speak about the online education which is bringing revolution in the education.
    Thank you for sharing a great blog, keep blogging.

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