In today’s world, our children are going to be exposed to technology at a much younger age than we were as kids. I remember my daughter as a toddler being given a LeapFrog type system which she loved to play with and did a great job helping her to learn some stories. While this wasn’t an Internet device, it was her first exposure to technology, and was definitely a precursor to her exposure to the Internet.
In this day and age, there are a lot of different options available for everyone to get connected, so what type of Internet device should you get for your child so they can connect? This post will explore some of the options you have available and what you should look for in a device.
Computers and Laptops
For most users, when it comes to a computer or a laptop, the main question becomes “Do I want a desktop or a laptop?” After that question, the followup usually revolves around whether to use Windows operating system or Mac OSX. The answers to these questions often revolve around such thoughts as the amount of desk space, whether or not your computer will travel with you, and whether or not you want a bigger display than a laptop screen can provide.
- Desktop Pros
- Permanent setup
- Bigger display
- More natural keyboard and mouse
- Cost is usually cheaper
- More easily upgraded as needs evolve
- Desktop Cons
- Space constraints
- Mobility — can’t easily transport to other locations.
- Usually requires either a computer desk or home office setup
- Usually requires hard wire connection to network
- Laptop Pros
- Small form factor, can work from anywhere
- Battery power source, less need to be constantly plugged in to wall outlet
- Wi-Fi enabled
- All shapes and sizes, very flexible configurations
- Laptop Cons
- More rigid in terms of upgrades
- Price is sometimes more because of small components
Tablets and Phones
When it comes to tablets and phones, the options are many and varied. In the one corner you have the Apple products — the iPad series of tablets and the various iPhone models. In the other corner you have the Android line of devices, which includes a whole host of manufacturers. Then, in a smaller third corner, you even have some devices that are built based on Windows operating systems.
For me, my tablet and phone of choice is from the Apple side of the ring, primarily out of experience and the past history I’ve had with them. I’ve worked with and on both Apple and Android products, and for me, the reason I choose Apple over Android is because the components work better. For example, in my experience, on an Android phone inevitably there will some issue with the email and calendar setup that will cause the calendar to stop syncing data with the server. On Apple devices, I’ve not experienced this issue.
I know that there those that swear by both platforms — those that love Apple products and those that love Android products. I also know that you aren’t going to change the minds of one over the other very easily, if at all. So, in the end, the best advice I can give for this is to do your homework, check out multiple products on both sides of the aisle, and try them out to see which one you like best. When you have that figured out, go with it, and don’t look back.
Lastly, there are other devices besides desktops and laptops, tablets and phones. There are also internet ready gaming systems such as the Nintendo 3DS, music devices such as iPod Touch, and others. These devices will also provide access to the Internet, although in my experience that appears to be more limited in scope, although I haven’t explored these as much lately. For a device that you are going to be using for your schoolwork, though, I would imagine that these wouldn’t be the best choice.
In the end, the device you choose for your child’s Internet activities for school or other use will in large part be determined by three components:
- The cost of the device and your budget to spend
- The requirements for the school, if any.
- The durability and length of use you’ll expect to get out of it.
For my family, when it became time to get an Internet device for our daughter, we ended up going with the Apple MacBook Air. She has had it for approaching 3 years, and it has been a great system for her. She uses it for school, she uses it for writing, and by following the rules that we have in place for online safety, I expect that it will last her for several more years. While it is a more expensive up-front cost, the long term value has been realized and then some.
What Internet device do you have for your child? Please let us know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by today!