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Laptops and computers have become commonplace in schools and homes across the country. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, 94% of children between age 3 and 18 have a computer in their home. Out of these children, 61% have access to the internet. In the classroom, one-to-one access to computers, laptops and tablets is on the rise.
In our increasingly connected and technology-centered world, knowing how to use a laptop computer is an essential skill for kids. With proficient laptop skills, kids can access valuable educational software, expand their knowledge through online resources and complete online homework assignments. This guide provides tips and best practices for introducing kids to laptops. Parents and teachers can use these techniques to promote safe and responsible laptop use, while teaching children the computer skills they need to succeed.
The best time to introduce a child to a laptop depends on the child's developmental stage and readiness. Most children will be ready to start learning to use a laptop around age 2 or 3. During this early stage of laptop use, a parent, teacher or another adult should always supervise them. Kids can begin by familiarizing themselves with basic laptop controls and then move on to solving puzzles, playing games and completing activities.
Here are some basic steps for teaching kids how to use a laptop.
Before children enter kindergarten, they should be able to operate a mouse and touchpad, turn a laptop on and off and perform fundamental navigational functions. Through continued classroom instruction and at-home practice, children can develop more advanced typing skills and comfort using a laptop.
When introducing laptops to kids, parents must teach them how to use the device safely and correctly. Here are some tips for parents to teach responsible and beneficial laptop use.
Whether a child is sharing a family laptop or has a device of their own, good laptop care is essential to prevent costly damage. Parents can encourage proper laptop care by setting these expectations about laptop use:
When kids follow these standards for laptop care, they can keep devices clean and functioning properly. However, accidents can still happen. For extra peace of mind, parents can purchase a kids' laptop case that is waterproof and shock-resistant. Kids' bumper laptop cases provide excellent protection from drops, while spill-proof protective cases for kids reduce the risk of water damage from a spill.
Parents can also set ground rules for appropriate laptop use, including when and where kids can use their laptop. Family laptop rules may set time limits for laptop use, establish specific rooms for laptop use and instruct kids to seek parent permission each time they want to use their device. Creating a family agreement about media use is one excellent way to enforce these expectations. Parents and kids can sign the "contract" to ensure everyone is on the same page about appropriate laptop use.
If a child is using a shared family laptop, parents can set up separate user accounts for each person in the household. When a child logs into their user account, they will only be able to access parent-approved applications and programs. Parents can also set up child accounts as standard accounts that do not permit kids to change any laptop settings. Parents can retain administrative control over the device and protect their child from viewing inappropriate content.
Parents can set up their child's user account with parental controls that only permit downloads of age-appropriate applications and limit what they can see online. Some laptops also allow parents to receive reports about their child's activity on the laptop and the internet. Parents can view how long their child used the device, what websites the child visited and what games or activities the child played.
When choosing applications and programs to download on a child's laptop, parents should look for activities that provide educational value. Games and apps that promote learning will remind kids that laptops are an educational tool, not a toy. Look for subject-based apps that reinforce what children are learning in school, or challenging games and puzzles that help kids develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills.
Educational laptop applications must also be age-appropriate for the most significant benefit to kids. Activities that are too challenging may discourage children from learning to use the laptop, while games that are too easy will not stimulate their mind. Parents should also consider the physical abilities of their children when choosing laptop applications. Activities that involve precise or complicated movements may be too advanced for children still developing their fine motor skills.
Laptop applications for young children may help them learn numbers, letters, colors and shapes. Slightly older children can practice sorting, grouping and counting objects. Kids can also enjoy laptop software involving music or art that stimulates their creativity. School-aged children may take on more challenging laptop games that ask them to complete word puzzles, solve mysteries, develop software and more.
Most laptop games and applications have an age rating that can help parents determine if the product is suitable for their child. Remember, building confidence is essential when children are first learning to use a laptop. By practicing with age-appropriate educational applications, children can hone their laptop skills quickly.
Once a child learns how to use a laptop, they will likely want to play on it all the time. However, sitting in front of a screen for a long time can be damaging to a child's eyesight, posture and overall physical health. Parents should establish ground rules for healthy computer use to prevent these negative impacts of extended laptop use.
During laptop use, parents can use timers to enforce the 20-20-20 rule and to remind kids when it is time to stand up and stretch their legs. Learning balanced computer use from the start will encourage healthy habits in the future.
A 2019 survey from Common Sense Media revealed that about 80% of K-12 teachers use digital computing devices in their classroom. Of this percentage, 40% of K-12 teachers have one-to-one access to digital devices, and 40% have shared devices in their classroom. With laptops becoming more common in schools, students must be ready to use laptops for classroom activities, homework assignments, research and more. Teachers can also take measures to promote the technological shift and encourage beneficial laptop use in their classrooms.
Here are a few guidelines for teachers when introducing students to laptops.
By following these guidelines, teachers can promote productive and constructive laptop use in their classrooms.
Before a child begins browsing the internet on their own, parents and teachers should establish clear rules for online safety. Children should understand the risks of email scams, online predators, computer viruses and identity theft so they can stay safe online.
Here are a few online safety tips for how parents and teachers can protect students while using laptops to access the internet.
With proper education and supervision, children can learn to use the internet safely on their laptop.
When purchasing laptops specifically for children, parents and teachers should look for kid-friendly models that are durable and easy to use. Children should be able to carry their laptop easily and use it for several years without a breakdown. Here are a few tips for choosing the best laptop for a child.
The best laptops for children will have straightforward navigation features, be lightweight, portable and provide excellent security and durability.
After teaching kids proper laptop care and handling, parents and teachers can protect devices even further with durable kids' laptop cases. Laptop and Chromebook bumper cases for kids feature shock-resistant materials and padded edges that protect the device from drops and rough handling. Some kids' laptop and Chromebook cases even have special coatings that make them resistant to water and dirt.
Here are a few features to look for when choosing protective cases for kids' laptops and Chromebooks.
A high-quality kids' laptop case with durable construction will offer excellent protection against anything a child can throw at it. Parents and teachers can enjoy peace of mind that they have protected the investment, so they can focus on teaching children how to use a laptop safely and effectively.
When you are ready to introduce your children or students to laptops, choose Higher Ground as your source for functional and high-quality kids' laptop cases. Higher Ground offers a range of protective cases for kids' laptops and Chromebooks. Higher Ground's solutions for kids' laptop cases include slim backpack-friendly cases, work-in cases and traditional laptop cases that protect devices when on the go.
Higher Ground makes kids' bumper laptop cases with shock-resistant EVA materials. The cases feature hydrophobic coating for long-term use. Higher Ground kids' laptop and Chromebook cases use self-retracting straps to keep your device safe and secure. To learn more about kids' laptop cases from Higher Ground, give us a call at 888-662-4300 or request a free sample to try one for yourself.