As parents, we want to make sure that we’re doing our bit to minimise screen time and protect our kids. After all, children who spend all day in front of the computer are much more likely to develop health problems when they grow up.
At the same time, though, we recognise that becoming computer literate is essential for the future. Children who can master their devices are in a wonderful position to sell their skills later.
Parents, therefore, need to decide when to get their child a laptop. In this post, we take a look at what type of equipment to get your kids at various ages so that they can read, write and improve their computer literacy skills. Here are some examples of the kind of technology that you might want to explore.
For Children At Primary School
If your child is at primary school and you would like them to have a laptop, there are several options. Many of these are specially designed to focus on learning and protect children from the woes of social media.
For instance, you might want to invest in a Linux-based operating system running on a 14-inch Acer laptop. These teach your child to code and understand the basic underlying mechanisms that drive all computer apps.
You can also give them an education on the hardware side of things too. The KANO operating system, for instance, runs on the Raspberry Pi 3, and allows your child to build it from individual components. It’s not particularly complicated either, meaning that young children will usually be able to do it and have no problem doing so.
For Children And Teens At Secondary School
As children get older, what they require from their laptops changes. In many cases, their education actually incorporates computers, so they are essential.
If you’re looking to save money, your best bet is to start with a Chromebook. You can carefully calibrate this so that your child focuses mainly on work and education, and not social media or other activities. Most Chromebooks have a rugged feel – great for school backpacks – and won’t crash or break down like regular laptops.
If you have a bigger budget, Apple is a good option. However, you probably don’t want your child taking their Macbook to school. It’s too valuable and at high risk of sustaining damage.
You might also want to consider the China-made work-orientated ThinkPad from Lenovo. These avoid much of the usual bloatware that comes with Windows 10 PCs and replaces it with a crisp, succinct environment for work.
Ultimately, it is up to individual parents to decide when their children should receive their laptops. The right time could potentially be any age after which they can begin using personal computers. For some kids, that could be as young as five.
As parents, we sometimes worry about the effects that screens will have on our young ones. But we should remember that they are just a tool: it’s how you use them that counts.
This is a collaborative post.