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Edited by - Article ID: 28

Laptops For Kids

Technology has continued to emerge at a rapid pace. As such, parents and educators alike are currently having difficulty determining proper boundaries for children’s digital life. Fortunately, open dialogue has increased awareness of the dangers and benefits of adolescent laptop use. The following will examine the pros and cons of technological integration within schools and households for children.

Laptops can serve as a form of education and entertainment for children. Currently there are learning games and programs distinctly designed for spelling, arithmetic, computer literacy, typing and in generally all areas of academic study. Providing an exciting new platform engages children from a young age into technology and digital media, creating intrigue and awareness rather than fear. Additionally most educational programs are manufactured to allow all children to interact within their curriculum, rather than maintaining stagnant and old fashioned techniques. Outside of educational development, laptops are also a lot of fun- both adults and children alike enjoy playing games, socializing with friends and surfing the web. Internet creates a smaller world where connecting with people all over becomes as simple as clicking a mouse. This may increase diversity within educational platforms, create international interest and also prepares them for a culturally rich education. As the technological world is continuing to advance at an abundant rate, it is absolutely vital for young people to begin to feel comfortable with computers and laptops as early as possible.

Although laptops do contribute significantly to the digital medium within a child’s curriculum, the internet can be a dangerous place. Online predators tend to lurk at young children through social networking and chat rooms. Innocent young people trust personal information, including addresses, school or parent schedules and phone numbers to offenders pretending to be their peers. Another concern is internet addictions, whether by spending too much time socializing, gaming or even viewing inappropriate content. Access to internet pornography or other highly offensive and detrimental material to an adolescent’s sexual development becomes immediate and overwhelmingly available online. Parents must chaperone all internet usage and remain cautious of new sites and online users.

If considering a legitimate laptop for a child, it is worth shopping around to determine the safest option available. There are currently safe laptops, specifically designed for children that are reasonably priced and do not allow internet access. Blocks can also be put into effect on all general computers, including those with internet access, where if a child where to visit a site that has been blocked the screen would be blank or show an error. Although there are both pros and cons to allowing laptops for kids, parents must learn to moderate and supervise usage of their children’s time on this new and exciting form of learning technology. 

Here are a list of links with further information on the dangers and benefits of children having access to their own laptops:

  • University of South Florida: Laptops for Learning: Final Report and Recommendations of the Laptops for Learning Task Force
  • State of New York, Attorney General: Your Child’s Digital Life
  • U.S. Department of Education: Computers 4 Kids
  • The City of San Diego: Computers at Home & Should I Buy a Laptop Computer for My Child?
  • State of Maine, via Portland Press Herald: Schools begin initial journey with laptops as learning tool
  • Princeton University: Children and Computers: New Technology- Old Concerns
  • TERC: Investigations in Number, Data and Space: The Effective Use of Computers with Young Children
  • Western Illinois University: Computers for Young Children: Gold or “Fool’s Gold?”
  • Columbia University: Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital
  • University at Buffalo: Computer Play with Young Children
  • Cornell University Ergonomics Web: Children and Computing
  • Carnegie Mellon University: The Impact of Home Computer Use on Children’s Activities and Development
  • Walden University: Teaching Children to Use the Computer
  • University of California, Berkeley: Harmful to Children? The Alliance for Childhood Report
  • University of New York: Computers and Young Children: Social Benefit or Social Problem?
  • University of Maryland: Home Computer Use by Kids Brings Benefits, But Not to All
  • University of Central Oklahoma: How Do Computers Affect Children’s Desire to Socialize? & Addendum: Statistics?
  • University of Texas, via Los Angeles Times: Push to Trade Class Textbooks for Laptop PCs Is a Misuse of Technology
  • MIT World: One Laptop per Child: Revolutionizing How the World’s Children Engage in Learning
  • Punahou School: The Face of the Future: A high-tech world starts with high-tech education
  • Lock Haven University: Top 10 Tools for Learning