While you might be trying to unplug from social media, your kids could be on the other end of the spectrum. They may be reaching that age where everyone in their class has a computer, and they feel like they’re missing out on all the fun. As a parent, giving them access to the internet is always at your discretion, but you may also think they could do with learning some independence. With this in mind, it could be time to consider whether your child is ready for a laptop.
Do They Need It For School?
The main reason parents let their child have a laptop or a computer is so they can use it for school. They may need to write reports and research new topics for homework, so it makes sense that they have something they can use themselves without needing to wait for the family computer to be free.
Buying a laptop for school work ensures they aren’t just getting it because everyone else has one, but they might want to play games, too. It’s up to you whether this is appropriate right now, especially if they already have a game console to play with.
Will They Be Able to Maintain It?
Every parent knows that kids make mistakes. They can get too excited or careless, which increases the chance of something expensive breaking.
You shouldn’t give your child something they will not be able to look after, so if they have not proven they are responsible, it’s best to wait at least a year. If they are responsible enough, they should know how to maintain their laptop. You can read this text with them to find out how to keep their computer running smoothly and keep it from getting clogged up with unnecessary files.
Do They Have Experience With Other Devices?
Most kids will have experience using other devices (I think mine knows more than me!), which should prepare them for having a laptop or computer they can call their own. If your child has experience using your tablet for games, schoolwork, and educational videos, they shouldn’t have any trouble transitioning towards something else.
As the laptop is theirs, they are also likely to take care of it. You might even want to encourage further appreciation by getting them to work for the laptop. A few chores around the house is an ideal solution, but only if they are old enough to do so.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Your child may beg you for a laptop even if they aren’t old enough or don’t need it as much as they think they do. If this is the case, you can consider alternatives that can prepare them and educate them about technology.
You can find toys that can teach kids how to code or ones that mimic laptops and tablets. Once they prove themselves with these, you can have another conversation about the laptop they would like.
Only you know whether your child is ready to have a laptop, and there are many options to consider that will ensure they stay safe while also having something for school work or connecting with friends. Their first laptop doesn’t even need to be anything too fancy, just something functional and easy to use. I know my daughter is not ready for one, but I am prepping myself for when that day comes!