Post by Hunter Bonner

Looking back on my experiences with computers, I remember the first one we got in our home. It was an Apple IIe computer, complete with floppy disk drive, massive monitor and a dot matrix printer.

In 1986 I thought we were at the pinnacle of technological evolution, as finally, we had a computer in the home. That computer would prove to be useful for not only my mother but for me as a student writing papers and such. The thing is, there was only one choice of computer — a desktop.

Nowadays, the public, and even businesses, are swamped with choices of computers, and this extends all the way down to folks with kids. There are desktops, laptops, tablets and, yes, smartphones are used oftentimes as a computer because in fact, that is what they are. However, when it comes to your children, which one is right for them? We will explore those options.

Desktops have been the mainstay of the computer industry for decades and as mentioned earlier, they were the only thing going. So why would you as a parent consider a desktop for your kids? One reason is a desktop provides typically a centralized point for your kids to use the computer. Like with any other computer, you can set up different user accounts so that each child has their own customized settings like favorite websites, programs, etc. Also, desktops tend to have a longer life usage and are more easily upgradable from a memory and hard drive point of view. The recommendation is to put this in a common area of your house for mom and dad to easily monitor. A desktop is appropriate for any age child, but specifically here, referring to any child ages 4 to 15.

The next category is a laptop. Laptops can be just as powerful as desktops, and they are portable. I would say teens from ages 15 to 18 are a good category for this, since they may already use one for school. Many schools now are mandating that all kids have access to one, and usually do so at a discounted rate, so this is definitely something to check in with your local school district. A laptop’s portability comes in handy when going back and forth to school, the library or study groups. Laptops also take up very little space compared to desktops, and some of them are priced almost the same as a desktop computer.

A consideration with laptops and children in this age range should be Net safety. Specifically, having such a portable device means that they can take it anywhere at any time. You will definitely want to lay down some clear ground rules such as not using one behind closed doors, using chat rooms, email and the like. Parents know their kids best, but when it comes to teens and access to laptops, my best advice is to heavily restrict what they can and cannot do with that machine via their user account permissions. That means creating a user account that has only “Guest” or “Standard User” permissions.

You can read the full article here, on the Denton Record Chronicle website. 

Twitter: @HunterBonner 

Hunter also has his own tech blog, which can be found here. 

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