On average, kids own their first computer at the age of 12. Laptops tend to be favoured over desktops because they take up less space and tend to be cheaper. Of course, even a cheap laptop is still going to cost you several hundred dollars. On top of the price tag, you’ve also got to consider the responsibility that comes with a laptop. Just like a phone, a laptop can offer access to the internet – but with increased capabilities. You need to be sure that your child is ready for this. Below are a few considerations to help you decide whether your child is ready to own a laptop.
Do they need it for school?
Schools are assigning more homework online. In order to carry out this homework, a computer may be necessary.
If you yourself own a computer at home already, your child may be able to share your computer for doing homework. However, this may not be practical if you also have to do work on your computer in the evening. Buying your child their own laptop could prevent having to take turns to use the computer.
Buying a laptop could be particularly important if no-one in your household owns a computer. Without a device to do homework on, your child won’t be able to do homework.
Schools are now understanding how digital equity and digital literacy are related. A child who does not have access to the same digital resources as other children can fall behind. Some schools have tried to rectify this by providing laptops to borrow and rent out. However, in some schools, such services may only be available to families on a low income.
Would a tablet be better?
A tablet could be an alternative to a laptop. Tablets are ideal for kids below the age of 10 who may only have to do basic homework or who may simply be looking for a device to play games on.
Tablets may not be suitable for older kids. Laptops are better for tasks that involve a lot of typing due to their in-built keyboards and they have more storage space and processing power. You can get around some of the weaknesses of tablets such as buying an external hard-drive for extra storage and a bluetooth keyboard for typing. However, you may find it easier to simply buy a laptop.
Things to consider when buying a child a laptop
Laptops can vary massively in size and power. A basic cheap laptop may be all that is needed for school work. If your child is getting older and wants to play more advanced PC games or needs powerful software for school work (which could be necessary in courses like graphic design), you may want to consider a more premium laptop.
You should consider whether parental controls are necessary. With younger children, such controls could be important for protecting them from harmful adult content. If your children are in their teens, you may feel that this isn’t necessary, although you may still want to take some precautions such as limiting time spent on the laptop.