This guest post is by Zoe Cohen.
This is Part 2 of an article about whether parents should buy a laptop or a tablet for their children. To read Part 1 of Should I Buy My Child a Laptop or Tablet.
In the last article, we discussed why it would be better for parents of young children to buy those children a tablet, namely durability, transportability, and ease of use. But we didn’t have enough space to dive into all of the benefits of laptops, drawbacks of tablets, and whom parents should buy laptops for. Because while tablets’ intuitive user interface and ease of transport are great for younger children, as kids grow, so do their technological needs. With older children and teenagers, it’s no longer so important to have devices that can be used simply, tactically deployed as timely distractions, and roughly used without being any the worse for wear. Older kids have a different focus and use their devices for different functions, resulting in laptops being the optimal choice. The reasons parents with older children and teenagers should consider purchasing a laptop over a tablet can be boiled down as follows.
Laptop Computational Capacity
Although tablets have a great screen that you can watch videos and play games on, the fact of the matter is that they have a relatively limited computational ability. Few tablets can run complex programs because they are designed as consumption devices – read books, watch videos, listen to music, etc. – rather than production devices – create a film, design a logo, program a robot, etc. Laptops, on the other hand, can do it all. Not only can they be used as a creative tool, but they can also be used simply as a passive consumption device. Why choose one function when you can have both?
This is linked to the previous point, but it is worth reiterating – there is so much you can do with a laptop. Given the right software, you can compose your own music, design and draw an entire graphic novel, sketch out an architectural diagram and use the program to figure out all of the real-life measurements, and so much more. You simply don’t have this kind of diversity of function with a tablet, no matter how much money you spend on it or what software you buy for it. The older kids are, the more relevant this versatility becomes. The more they can do with their device, the more they are going to try to do, broadening their horizons and facilitating their passions.
As your child grows and develops, a laptop can follow and foster that growth in a way a tablet never could. Children use devices for such diverse facets of their life as schoolwork, socializing, creating, relaxation, and diversion. These devices have much more customizability, and their functionality facilitates anything your child might want to do. The sky’s the limit!
Now that you know whether to buy your child a laptop or a tablet, let’s take a look at the best option for each.
The Best Children Tablet?
Laptop Mag of Tom’s Guide recommends the 8-inch Amazon Fire HD Kids tablet. With a crystal-clear display, excellent battery life, and a ton of pre-loaded content, this tablet is hard to beat. It also boasts robust parental controls (so you can let your child browse worry-free!) and comes with a protective case and 2-year warranty. At $129.99, this tablet is a no-brainer!
The Best Children Laptop?
According to Laptop Runner, the top choice for older children and teens is the Samsung Chromebook 3 with 2 GB RAM and an 11.6-inch screen. In addition to being a powerful device, it’s highly portable and has an excellent battery life. The screen and speakers are of top quality, allowing for optimal communication and video consumption. Furthermore, at $174, it definitely beats out the higher-end competition like the $950 MacBook Pro.