MacBook Air for 13 year old?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by KeepCalmPeople, May 23, 2013.

  1. KeepCalmPeople macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

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    #1
    My son currently has a Celeron-powered Windows 7 laptop that is quite slow. He is keen to get a 13" MBA as he complains about how heavy his laptop is. I am having a hard time justifying the additional expense of a MBA over a nicely-speced touchscreen Windows 8 laptop for $600 - $800. An Asus Ultrabook for example.
    I'd be interested to hear from parents who have bought (or considered buying) their children MacBooks, what the factors were in their decision.
     
  2. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #2
    i am not at all passing judgement on how you want to raise your kid, but right now there is a story about a 12 year old who hanged herself because she was being bullied on the internet.

    now - obviously for something like that to happen there is a combination of factors at play such as underlying mental health issues, lack of parental oversight and maybe even an actual crime such as harassment - but that kind of story and its relative frequency underscores the reason why i don't let my kids have laptops.

    they have a desktop in a common area that they can use - absolutely no laptop/ipads in the bedrooms...

    of course, if you know what you are doing you can monitor sites via your router settings and i'm sure you know what your kid is or isn't ready to have, i just thought i'd chime in.

    I hope it's not too out of turn!

    as to your actual question, i would say the same applies - is your 13 year old old/mature enough to handle a more high-end machine? what is he doing with it?

    i personally wouldn't be able to justify that kind of expense for a kid that young but maybe your kid is ready :)

    there are other cheaper light-weight laptops...and even a used MBA might not be a bad idea.

    good luck!
     
  3. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

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    #3
    There's 100's of much cheaper laptops available that are under 2KG in weight. If he complains about that then maybe the money would be better spent on a personal trainer for him.

    ----------

    There's no reason to spend that kind of money on a laptop for a child. None at all. And to prepare a young person for the 'real world' then I'd have thought it would have been far more responsible to buy a Windows based machine seeing as that's what they will more than likely be using for work.

    I genuinely don't know why some schools in the US buy 1000's of Mac's to hand out to their students. They obviously have far too much cash sitting around.

    I do like your idea of a used MBA though, that wouldn't break the bank.
     
  4. Colpeas macrumors 6502

    Colpeas

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    #4
    I just don't understand for what a 13-year-old kid needs a $1200 laptop. I don't think that it would be an investment which would eventually pay back. For usual day-to-day stuff of the majority of children (the internet, some music, movies, games, *maybe* a bit of MS Office) a cheaper machine would suffice and it wouldn't even have to be the latest model.

    Expensive Apple laptops are a common target of thieves, too, so unless your child is very careful with stuff, that is another risk. My advice? Buy a cheap, similarly spec'd ultrabook (or whatever it is called) or used MacBook. It will do the job and you'll save $$.
     
  5. G-Mo macrumors 6502

    G-Mo

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    #5
    Yes to the MacBook Air. No to new. Craigslist/Kijiji/eBay. A 2010/2011 model can be had at a similar price to the PC machine(s) you quoted above and is infinitely better.
     
  6. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    #6
    yeah...i'm not really sure that's an accurate portrayal of reality. School's aren't buying "1000s of macs to hand out to their students"

    I don't think you would disagree that computer literacy is an essential skill for today's youth and a requirement of any modern school curriculum.
    So they need to buy computers.. Why macs?

    Apple gives substantial discounts to schools often making the macs cheaper to buy and maintain than Windows machines, they offer cheaper management tools, they have demonstrated an impressive commitment to education and continuing education, macs are more secure in terms of viruses and "hacking," and they are perfectly compatible with Windows which is not true in reverse. Obviously it is essential for students to learn Windows in today's industries, but for basic word processing, typing etc mac is perfectly adequate, and cheaper.

    It does seem a bit paradoxical considering the relatively high-price of the consumer macintosh, but it's no accident that for all of these reasons and others, Apple controls the education market in the US.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #7
    FWIW that's the general approach in my house too. Two boys 10 and 12. We also recently established separate locked down profiles on the two MBAs which are usually to be found in the family room which they can use if my wife or I aren't using them.

    They can also use one of the three iPads that float around. I hope that iOS 7 provides a more granular way to lock down iPads for multi-user access.

    In the end, it comes down to what they will do with the machine. My kids' school district is all Mac (though many are ~2007 -2008 vintage), so it makes sense for them to continue using Macs at home. Though a lot of my 12 yo's schoolwork involves web resources, which are essentially platform independent.

    B
     
  8. SMDBill macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2013
    #8
    I have bought a MBP for my two oldest children. However, those were purchased as graduation gifts and intended as the machines they will study with and use through their college years. I figured it was the best investment I could make for technology to send them off to school with (after verifying with the school that Mac's were ok for their programs).

    My kids get lesser machines to use at home. Not one of them has a requirement that couldn't be fulfilled with a much lower cost computer. I don't permit braggin rights to be part of any of their requirements and unless they can convince me otherwise, a low to mid range machine is all they get. I buy them XBox or Playstation consoles to game on so I will never spend the money on a computer just to game at high fps with top level resolution.

    I buy them the tool that gets the job done and a $1000-1200 machine is not it. Those are bought for my wife, me and graduates. One of my younger children uses a laptop running Linux and the other has a 3 year old Acer with Windows 7 (happened to have an ATi video card included for low price). Kids are rough on things and I've had one stepped on (right on keyboard, netbook dead), dropped, spilled on.

    Have you considered a Chromebook or does he require more than the software you can run on one? If he's mainly online and doesn't need installed apps, they're inexpensive, come with huge Google Drive space free for 2 years (100GB) and they're fairly quick. Not speed racers, not top of the line in any way shape or form, but functional and throw-away priced ($200-300) if they meet the needs. For most they do not, but you never know. I may get one for my youngest as a Christmas gift and I use one myself as my main daily driver.
     
  9. KeepCalmPeople thread starter macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

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    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    #9
    Thank you for everybody's observations so far. I am inclined to persuade him into a cheaper Windows laptop - I know that he is drawn into the cool factor of a MBA, and of course the novelty of a touchscreen Windows laptop. Neither of which have anything to do with his functional requirements.
     
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #10
    What are his actual needs? What does school use?

    B
     
  11. Mr Kram macrumors 68000

    Mr Kram

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    Oct 1, 2008
    #11
    currently, both of my kids - 16 and 7, have their own iMac and macbook (2009 ish) which are located in a central location. they are not allowed to take the laptop to the bedroom or any other private area. i also bought my son a windows laptop that he keeps at his mom's house. i'm not positive what the rules are there. when my daughter reaches the 4th grade, she will be required to carry her own laptop to school. at that point, i will probably give her my current 11" air (2012) and i will buy myself a new one. currently she has her own ipad mini which is required by the school.
     
  12. Blakeasd macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 29, 2009
    #12
    A Macbook Air for someone who is fifteen years old or older, certainly. A Macbook for someone under fifteen, I would reconsider.
     
  13. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    #13
    laptop required for 4th grade? wow... i didn't even have a laptop in college. times is changed!
     
  14. Mr Kram macrumors 68000

    Mr Kram

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    #14
    definitely. my first grader has half her school assignments online. pretty crazy!
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #15
    I didn't even have a desktop in college; I bought my first desk top (used, with a memory of 80MB) when I was a post grad......memories, memories...

    Gosh. How times have indeed changed.

    To the OP: Reading the thread, I understand the concerns about laptops in bedrooms, and other private locations, but, if a MBA is to be considered, as others have already suggested, a refurb or better still, a used MBA might be worth thinking about.
     
  16. KeepCalmPeople thread starter macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

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    #16
    I'm using Windows Family Safety web filtering, and OpenDNS for web filtering via DNS, so I'm not too concerned about my kids reaching inappropriate content etc. I am concerned, however, about how much time they spend on their iPhones and iPads. The parental controls in iOS are way too coarse for my needs also - I am happy for my 15 year old daughter to be able to download apps and music, but I want to be able to filter her Internet access when she is not on our wi-fi, and ideally when she can access the Internet too. A little off-topic but...
    I think keeping children's computers in a central place is a great idea, at least for pre-teens. I have no such restrictions at the moment and I wish I had implemented a stricter policy from the start. Tightening the rules now is going to be painful.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    Since Windows Family Safety is Windows only AFAIK, it's just another reason not to get your son an MBA. (Unless of course you just install Windows 7 or 8 on it at even higher additional cost. ;))

    B
     
  18. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #18
    Humph...when I was in college there was no such thing as a personal computer. Businesses were still using IBM accounting machines with punched cards, then systems like 1401..1620..7094..

    It freaks me out a bit sometimes I think nothing today of having an iPhone, an iPad, a MBP, and an iMac. And my wife has a Mac mini and an iPod and a MBP.

    We have a whole generation growing up where they've never seen a rotary phone with a cord, no copy machines, no cell phones, and no personal computers.
    --------------
    For a 13 year old it would depend on what he's doing with it. Some schools integrate it and others do not. I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand..I would decide based on the kid..how does he do in school, etc.
     
  19. PraisiX-windows, May 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2013

    PraisiX-windows macrumors regular

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    #19
    I am baffled by the people who think teenagers are too young for computers, I mean, wow - suffering from cranky-grandpa-syndrome?
    If he wants a Macbook Air,*if you can afford it, and if he takes care of his computers, why not give him that one.
     
  20. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

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    Virginia, USA
    #20
    The only problem with Windows machines is that, well, they use Windows OS. You will pay hell to load OS X on one. And then there is the quality issue.

    Your child, your money, your call. In my house, yes.
     
  21. Mrbobb, May 24, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

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    #21
    No parental comment here that's your job, but I too looked at Ultrabooks vs Air and the difference is not that large, on the hardware.

    I believe the ASUS I5 ultrabook (closets competitor) is like usd$600+ (no touch screen) TS more expensive.

    I believe you can buy refurb (full warranty) 2011 (I5 processor still) 11" base Air for just over usd$700.

    As long as it doesn't stuck to your head that you must purchase new.

    Don't forget if you switch OS, add expense of additional software licenses.

    I don't like used laptop unless it has a confirmed NEW genuine brand battery in it.
     
  22. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #22
    Here's an option to consider: figure out the cheapest price for a laptop that suits his functional requirements. Give him the choice: buy that laptop, or save up the difference himself if he wants to spend extra for a MBA. Consider helping him search and shop for a used/refurb MBA if that helps keep the cost down. Maybe he'll be interested in working off the couple hundred dollars difference, be it with a paper route, babysitting, maybe even doing yard work for you or your neighbors. Or, he could decide that the "cool factor" isn't worth it. Either way is a good lesson learned. :)
     
  23. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #23
    Of course teenagers aren't too young for computers, but do you think it is necessary or a good idea for a 13 year old to have a $1000 laptop? 13 is just beginning to get into the online world, not to mention how spoiled this kid is going to be. A Macbook is a graduation or 18th birthday gift, not a "oh, you want a laptop? here ya go!" type thing. I think my parents handled this pretty well. We always had a desktop in a central spot in the house that I could use. Once I got more familiar with computers and the ways of the internet, I adopted my mom's old laptop (a 5 year old Dell). That was when I was about 14. When that no longer met my needs I upgraded.

    Plus, if this kid really needs mobile computing, he can always remote-in to the family desktop from his iPhone 5 :D

    ----------

    I agree with you, but just FYI; kids haven't had paper routes since about 1975.
     
  24. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #24
    Depends on the area I guess. Maybe not the major daily papers, but flyers, community papers, I still see kids delivering those. In my city we have a company called The Flyer Force which handles distribution of bundles of flyers to those folks who don't subscribe to the papers. I used to deliver for them, years ago, and I know a few kids who have recently done that kind of work (and who now do lawn care).

    YMMV of course.
     
  25. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

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    Apr 23, 2009
    #25
    I got my 14 year old son a second hand (1 yr old) MBA 13" with nice specs. He is very happy with it as he is a serious student and he wants his laptop to just function, which it does, and doesn't care that much about games etc. He cannot install new applications and I have switched on the log of visited internet sites. This log is not very helpful as the first thing 14 yr old boys learn is what a proxy-server is... :)
    The only real worry I have is theft.

    So my personal conclusion: yeah get your son a MBA. He will love it and you can have as much control over it as you want.
     

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