Computer Systems for Kids

If you can't get to your own computer because your kids are on it from dawn to dusk, it's probably time to start shopping—for them. Your children have many more options today for a first computer than were available just a few years ago. There's really no need to go to the toy store for an electronic device that acts like a computer when real computers are easy to use, lightweight and relatively inexpensive. For young children, small notebooks and tablets make great computer systems. For older children who play the latest games, a desktop or all-in-one computer is a better choice.

Lightweight Laptops

Inexpensive, lightweight and virus-free, today's Web-based notebooks can be an ideal choice for a child's first computer system. Web-based notebooks are essentially built around the Web browser, meaning there are no complicated programs to install or configure. Your child can work on school projects, search for information on the Web, watch videos and play games. Depending on the model, these notebooks weigh less than 3 pounds and have a battery life of more than six hours, making them a perfect backpack accessory for the child on the go.

Tablets

The line between tablets and full-fledged computers continues to blur every year. For children, a tablet is a great first computer because it is intuitive, easy to use and difficult to mess up. If a child accidentally deletes an app, it can be restored again with just a few taps. A wide variety of apps are available to educate and entertain a child. If you add a case and an external keyboard, your child has an easy-to-use laptop. Tablets are rapidly becoming fixtures in school classrooms; if your child already has one, he'll have a step up on the learning curve.

Gaming Computers

The older children become, the more sophisticated their computer needs will be. Any preteen who is interested in the hottest new video games will most likely be excited at the prospect of helping you choose the specs for a new gaming computer. Look for systems with a lot of memory, or RAM, a fast processor, or CPU, and a quality graphics card. If you ask your child about the games he most wants to play, you can use the minimum and recommended specs for those games as your guide for selecting the right computer.

Computer Setup for Children

Before handing a new computer over to your child, spend some quality time with him explaining how it works and how to use the apps you have installed. Have some fun with him surfing the Web while discussing online safety. Familiarize yourself with the parental controls on the computer so you can protect your child from inappropriate online content. If you use a Windows® computer, make sure the anti-virus software is up-to-date. Accidents happen, so make regular backups of the computer's hard drive in case the computer is dropped, knocked over or exposed to liquids.

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