Computer for kids to use?

My kids are getting old enough to need access to a computer or computer-like-object at home. My wife and I both have work laptops, and have had them for a long time, so we don’t have a home computer.

We’ve thought about getting an Apple Desktop, Chromebooks or maybe iPads. They use Chromebooks at school, but I’m hesitant to bring one of those into the house for some reason. I’m also hesitant about letting them on iOS unrestrained given all of the addiction issues with apps. I want it to be a tool, not a toy. Not to say they can’t play games on it, but I feel like it’s easier to monitor what they’re up to on a big screen than on a tablet they can take anywhere.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with going about this successfully? Am I thinking about this wrong?

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Chromebooks are fantastic for the price, students get unlimited storage, they’re used to it, there’s no backup admin needed by parents, and it’s going to keep them away from browser-based games (or other things) with parental controls.

And they’re cheap.

A regular iPad with screentime controls would do the trick, yes theoretically they can take it somewhere but if you make it clear that’s not allowed they’ll learn :wink:

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Someone (sorry, don’t have a ref) said they would never have a laptop, iPad, etc. because a desktop required more intention to use it. As I sit here stretched out in the recliner type-swiping this on my phone, it’s obvious they have a point. If I wanted to check MPU on a desktop, I would need to go to it and use it.

I think online safety is a concern too. If the computer is in a common area, it’s easier to keep an eye out. There are DNS services, etc. that purport to help with this, but nothing is better than a vigilant parent.

We have an old Chromebook for our 6th and 4th graders. It does the job and wasn’t expensive. If there is a need for both to use a machine at one time, I let one of them jump on my MacBook Air but I am protective of it, so that’s rare. I imagine I’ll hand it down to one of them when I upgrade in a year or so.

My oldest has a Chromebook that we got as a review unit. It was a bit of pain to get set up for her and manage (e.g. while 1Password for Chrome works, it’s really a lot less convenient). My second is about ready for something and I think she’s getting an iPad with a Pencil*, which we all agree will be easier to manage from a parental viewpoint and easier for her to learn to use.

The rule for either of them is they’re allowed to do schoolwork on them in their room between breakfast and dinner, but otherwise they live in my office. We live in a relatively small house and it’s hard to find a quiet corner to work otherwise. We’ll see how it goes.

* By which I mean she’ll inherit my hand-me-down iPad Pro and Pencil while I get myself a new iPad Pro and Pencil, especially if they announce new models this month.

I’d go with a Mac desktop in a fixed location. Easy to monitor and they can learn to type on a real keyboard and use a mouse.

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My fifth grader uses a Raspberry Pi at home to access Google Docs and so far it’s done everything she needs. Super cheap.

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Kids can build their own Raspberry Pi computer too.

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My son used my iMac until he turned 13 and bought himself an iPad. Even after he had the iPad, he would still use my iMac for schoolwork.

I’m in favor of using a shared family computer until they’re old enough to have some financial stake in their own device.