Buying your child’s first computer is a modern parenting milestone. It’s not only a big deal for you—the person who has to pick out, purchase and oversee screen time on the device—but it’s pretty exciting for your kiddo, too. While kids might play games on your phone in waiting rooms or watch videos on the tablet at home, getting their own machine represents a whole new level of responsibility and freedom. So it’s important to pick out a laptop that is going to make homework, streaming and gaming easy and convenient—for your child and for you.
Here’s what you should consider when shopping for your kid’s first computer
Computers can cost thousands of dollars, but when you’re buying one for someone who unceremoniously drops their backpack on the floor every time they walk through the door, you probably want to keep budget top of mind. Kids deserve quality, of course, but you don’t need to break the bank to find a laptop that offers all the functionality they’ll need.
Chromebooks are a great option for the whole family. They come in a range of prices and the Chrome operating system (OS) is intuitive and easy to use — even for millennials and Gen-X. Because let’s face it: your kid won’t be the one with technical difficulties.
Tablets made specifically for kids seem like a good choice until your child needs to do something other than play the educational games that come loaded on the device. When it’s time to research science experiments, learn how to type their first email, it’s important to have a computer that goes from fun to functional.
Plus, you want something that will grow with your child. They won’t be watching YouTube Kids forever. At some point, the Minecraft virtual play date invitations will start rolling in and your kid will want to join.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 is a Chromebook that’s part tablet, part laptop with a touch screen and removable keyboard. It boasts a high-quality 1920 x 1080 display and 4 GB of RAM and comes loaded with Chrome OS, which school boards across Canada use, and offers the ability to create multiple log-ins so your child can sign in with their school account to do their homework or with their personal account for streaming, gaming and connecting with friends.
A little freedom can help build maturity and responsibility, but too much can mean bright screens at bedtime and secret streaming sessions when kids should be doing homework. It’s important to invest in a device that will allow you to set and manage your child’s screen time — something that’s not always so easy with a computer.
That’s where the Google Family Link app comes in handy*. Available for Chrome and Android devices, including the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5, this app gives parents control over their children’s screen time, including what time they can use their device, for how long and even which apps can be used when. It’s easy to set up and gives kids the opportunity to remotely ask parents for permission to buy new apps. Don’t have an Android phone? It works for parents who have iPhones, too. * Family Link is not available in Quebec
Being able to see and control what your child is doing online and on their device is important, but so is security. While kids get a lot more digital media education at school than their parents ever had, they’re not trained IT professionals just yet, so you’ll want a laptop with anti-virus software. Luckily, Chromebooks, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5, come with built-in virus protection. No software installation is needed.
Kids these days live busy lives. Whether they’re visiting grandparents or hanging out with friends, it just makes sense to have a device they can easily take with them. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 has a 13.3-inch screen and the screen folds onto the removable keyboard, both protecting the tablet’s screen and making the whole device super portable. And with a battery life of up to 12 hours, the charger can stay at home.