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How do I Choose the Best Laptop for Kids?

There are many types of laptops and computers available, some of which have been designed specifically for children.
Before buying, determine what kinds of programs your child will need to access on the laptop.
Many young children use a parent's laptop.
Many parents opt against buying an expensive laptop for their kids.
Some children may be fine with a standard laptop, and if that's the case it doesn't need to be powerful or expensive.
It might be a good idea to insure an expensive laptop in the event of theft.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
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Choosing a laptop for kids is a complicated issue. There are some kid’s laptops that can be purchased cheaply and many mimic some functions of actual computers. Most of these aren’t compatible with desktops or other laptops and are more designed for playing learning games or as a simulation for the real thing. These might be great for a kid who wants to play a few learning games, but they may not have significant applications when it comes to using a computer at school. Some parents may just skip this step and go right to finding real laptops for home or school work, since these will give kids computer know how, arguably a very important skill in the modern world.

Your first consideration in looking for a laptop for your child is what kind of programs it will need to run. Unless the child is a dedicated gamer, it’s better to veer away from the really expensive machines that will run a variety of games, and parents might also want to avoid computers that are brand new. Instead, look for those laptops that will run functional programs for use in school, like word processing and presentation software.

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Deciding whether to allow an Internet connection from the laptop is tricky. Some schools do offer filtered access to the Web, and others may simply have wireless connections available. It’s a good idea to supervise children when they go online because of some inherent dangers associated with this practice. Those laptops that support wireless can be disabled so kids can’t get online, but you should decide if the child will need a connection for educational purposes when examining available laptops.

Another factor that might require some thought is price and durability. Kids may not be as cautious with laptops, and they might be more likely to lose or break them. Many parents choose not to buy a laptop for kids that is highly expensive and brand new, and instead opt for a decent used one that will support necessary educational programs. When parents do purchase more expensive new models, they should consider home insurance, which might cover loss due to theft, and they should look for models that are durable. Having a strong and protective laptop case can be a good plan too.

As with any laptop purchase, it’s a good plan to choose one based on reviews of the various computers available. There are many companies that offer free reviews, and this can be a good way to determine which ones are most likely to keep running and offer features you want. Price is another consideration; once you choose your price, you can search for the best machines that fall within a certain range.

If you have a home desktop computer — or a family laptop — you may want to buy a model that is compatible with yours. This is usually not an issue if both computers are PCs, but some compatibility issues can exist when one model is a Mac and another is a PC. There are, however, programs that may be able to address this issue.

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Discuss this Article

chicada
Post 2

While I agree that computer literacy is important for a kid to learn, t is important to be careful that your child does not become completely dependent on technology to function. Kids should still be limited to the amount of electronic stimuli in their lives. Though they may need computers for school and entertainment, a child should still learn about arts and music, and they should still maintain their physical abilities. So many kids today have poor coordination and social skills because they spend their time surrounded by technology in a somewhat virtual reality.

English and grammar skills are lacking because kids are so used to sending information in short texts. Many kids also lack social skills like public speaking and communication skills because they lack personal, face-to-face interaction. Science and math skills are even lacking because kids can find a program, website, or discussion board that can answer anything that is the slightest bit complicated. Balancing technology and the real world will likely prove to be the biggest challenge in the modern world.

Amphibious54
Post 1

A netbook can be a good option for a laptop computer for kids. Netbooks are small, portable, can easily fit into a kids backpack, and have less moving parts than a notebook. Netbooks are also cheap compared to a regular laptop, and they are not powerful enough to accommodate most games so you can rest assured that your kids are not playing games. You will still have to monitor their internet use though, but there are software applications for that (or you could always trust them).

When I was a kid, having one computer per family was the most common case, but now everyone has their own computer. Computers have become just as personalized as a car or cell phone. As the article stated, computer literacy is also an important aspect of modern life.

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