Laptops for kids and upgrades!
If there is one thing we have all been dependant on in the past weeks of quarantine and crisis, it's our tech. It has enabled us to keep working, to earn our living, to teach our kids, to exercise, to communicate with loved ones, to entertain us and to help us cope with something that is still a bit of an enigma and that remains very much a part of our current and future lives.
And if there is one thing that would make me say 'I told you so' (in the nicest of ways), it would be - you wish you had upgraded. Or at least looked after your tech a little bit more. You know, those pesky messages that our computers/phones/ipads send us all the time - 'tonight we will install iOS xxxx' or 'you need to upgrade to the new operating system blah blah'. And you ignore it because you know it will take time and you need to shop for your new summer wardrobe RIGHT NOW and not be disturbed by irritating upgrades. Plus you soon realise that without these upgrades - things still work just fine.
Only they don't. Sure it works when all you do is surf the net for new cushions/clothes/holiday destinations. And a few e-mails. But when you suddenly need to take over from your teachers that have trained for years to get where they are.... you need new tools. And those new tools need up to date computers.
These days, we give our kids a tablet at a super young age (to entertain), and a phone at an appropriate age (so that we can track them although we pretend it is for other reasons), and we give them a computer way later. Because they can effectively do everything they want to with their tiny screens that cost a bomb, so you don't want to shell out for yet another gadget. If they need a computer, they borrow ours. We think this is more secure. We can see what they are doing on 'our' computer. Kids aren't dumb though, they're not going to start searching for stuff they don't want you to know about on your computer, they can do that on their phone/iPad (probably despite any parental controls you set up).
But here we are in confinement. Dad needs his computer to try and save his business. Mum lets you use hers for homeschooling, only she has 3 kids and one computer. Maybe Mum works too. Either way, it's never going to work. All the kids need different things at different times. Trying to home school on an iPad doesn't work. It's upsetting to me that kids in families without a computer are missing out on a lot of education.
Computers are cheap(er) these days. Let's not forget you bought your 2 yr old an iPad for some enormous sum just to shut him/her up in restaurants and on planes. It was cute, it showed just how much you love your baby. But then they grow and new ipads don't come cheap and are pretty much unnecessary in life. They are a 'nice to have', a luxury, a fun, compact entertainment device yet we still waste money on them when you can pick up a very nice Windows based laptop for way less than an iPad. A laptop is transportable, can be used for fun and is ALSO a great tool for learning. Kids need to learn to type, it's essential today. Phones and iPads teach them to jab at a screen with a finger, which, if nothing else, isn't particularly hygienic as they spend a lot of time jabbing each other's screens, then shoving their screens in their friends' faces to watch something funny. It's also a small screen, not great for developing eyes.
So not only should you keep your own laptop up to date, but get your kid a laptop. Laptops help your kids grow up, they make it easier to write notes, not just watch stuff, and let's face it, in the working world, we ALL need to know how to use one so why not get them started early.
We spend so much money on a phone yet we hate to buy a laptop at half the price? And then we get fed up if it doesn't last 10 years but we 'need' a new phone every 18 months? It's ridiculous, don't get me wrong, phones are essential today, apps do just about everything in day to day life, but WORK is performed on laptops. You know, the kind of work that actually pays you? We are all suckers to the great marketing giants of telecom and tech companies but let's cut back on phones and invest a bit more in the laptop/desktop.
And don't forget to look after that beautiful laptop, that has kept you zooming and skyping and working. Look after it and keep it up to date as it is an essential part of life today. Check it for viruses, perform cleanups, upgrade it and don't clog it with old files and folders you'll never use. You put your jewellery in the safe, your favourite handbag in its dust cover, so respect your laptop and it will look after you in times like this.