Choosing a Laptop for a Child

Is it time for a laptop?

Whether it's to meet the demands of your tech-savvy teen or to help challenge your toddler as he learns basic computer skills, laptop computers for children are an increasingly popular alternative to stand alone towers and monitors. Should you get one for your child? How do you decide among all the options. Here are a few factors to consider.

Benefits of Kids' Laptops

If you're in the market for a new child-friendly computing system, chances are you have considered the portability and convenience of a laptop system. While computer towers will always have their place in the family home, laptop systems carry many benefits that lure consumers in and hook them on their versatility. Here are a few reasons you may consider a laptop option:

  • Laptop users can be involved with family members rather than confined to a distant area of the home.
  • Portability makes laptops great for travel, business and school.
  • Convenience and competitive price points make laptop options appealing for all ages.
  • High-speed Internet access options ensure your laptop will meet the demands of the most discriminating Internet surfer.
  • Wireless adaptability ensures you can connect to the Internet without confining wires and cords.
  • Wireless printing compatibility makes special projects and homework easy to print.
  • Increased RAM space has extended the capacity of laptops.
  • Large screen options make viewing easier on the eyes.

Drawbacks of Laptops for Children

While the benefits of laptop computers for children are many, there are a few negative aspects to consider prior to purchasing an all-in-one computer unit. The following downsides of laptops should be weighed against the benefits:

  • Laptops are easier to damage than a tower computer system. If your child is rough with electronics, chances are the expensive laptop will take a beating.
  • Once a laptop has been damaged either internally or externally, the components of the system will all need to be replaced. For example, a damaged screen may cost more to repair than the price of the computer. Consider maintenance and prevention expenses prior to purchasing.
  • Laptops are more prone to virus and security attacks.
  • Portable computers may mean she spends more time surfing than engaging in other beneficial activities

Options for Child-Friendly Computers

While most computers are geared for adults, there are a few kid-friendly options in the laptop category. Netbooks are a new computer phenomenon that are truly geared towards the demands of young children and teenagers. Sized no larger than a hardcover book, a netbook has full function capabilities. Users can surf the Internet, write documents and keep in touch with email access. Due to its smaller than average size, a netbook can take some operational getting used-to. Keep in mind young children may be discouraged by the small keyboards and small screens at first, but with some time and practice they'll be surfing with confidence!

Protect Your Investment

No matter which type of laptop or tower system you choose for your child, make sure you opt for an extended protective insurance option. While insurance coverage will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the added peace of mind in this affordable add-on investment will surely make the large purchase price more arguable. Many policies cover spills and damage from dropping the unit, which is especially important and necessary when small children operate on the system.

While price points and manufacturer benefits will most likely be the determining factor in your laptop purchase, make sure you consider your child's needs and ensure her new laptop will offer the hours of endless play and learning that she'll come to expect from her first laptop computer.

Choosing a Laptop for a Child