Tips on preventing small children from killing the iMac?

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
You may think I am crazy, but the iMac I ordered this morning will be frequently used by my two sons, Oliver and Philip, aged 3 and almost 2 respectively [pardon the run on sentence]. Actually, while my wife and I will use the iMac often, it is really sort of for the kids.

Here are the little monsters:


Some of you who don't have young kids may be wondering what the hell a 3 year old and almost 2 year old would be doing on a computer. Answer: Games. They play Dora the Explorer, Cailou, and several other games daily on my Powerbook. They paint Thomas. They build with Bob the Builder. Now they'll be using the iMac so I can have my Powerbook back :). As an aside, I can't take them to the mall without them playing the games on the iMacs at the Apple Store for at least 15 minutes. They love the Apple Store.

Here's the problem - When they get frustrated with a game, they occasionally take it out on the hardware. Not often, but it happens. Main victim is the mouse, since they don't know how to use the keyboard. Fortunately I have a couple extra mice around. The old one button mice are perfect for little ones. As for the keyboard, I went ahead and ordered a ProTouch XT to protect from spills, drooling, and the like.

Anyone else have any suggestions for added protection? Is there anything I can put on the screen to protect against sharp objects without destroying the image quality? Anything I can use to stabilize the iMac from tipping over if it gets pushed or pulled? Maybe I should have bought the wireless keyboard/mouse so these peripherals couldn't be yanked out, pulling down the iMac and ruining USB ports in the process, but I didn't want to expose the kids to extra radiation [I know this is unsubstantiated].
 

livingfortoday

macrumors 68030
Nov 17, 2004
2,903
0
The Msp
You could try mounting the iMac on a VESA type arm, so that it couldn't fall over. I don't know if you can lock those in place, so that they couldn't swing it around, though.
 

Aperture

macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2006
1,877
0
PA
hmm. I know there is this stand that allows one to rotate the iMac around 360. I wonder if that would stabilize it. I'll post a link if I find it later.:eek:
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
Get a steel cage built for the iMac! lol...

Like someone has already mentioned I would mount it via the VESA mount on the wall so that it's still visible but out of reach. I would also get some kind of screen protector so that they don't poke the screen and scratch it.

Nuc
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
Thanks for the replies. The VESA mount options are too expensive for us. As for screen protectors, I found these two:

http://www.powersupportusa.com/products/kf.php?category=pb
http://www.powersupportusa.com/products/ef.php?category=pb

Not sure whether the ones they say fit the 17" iMac refer to the Intel iMacs, G5 iMacs, or G4 iMacs. Do all 17" iMacs have the same exact screen size/aspect ratio as a 17-inch Powerbook? Might the one designed for the 17-inch MacBook Pro be a better fit? I sent an email off to them, so hopefully I will hear back soon. Also, I will have a hard time choosing between Crystal (glossy) and Anti-glare (matte). Ah. the age old question, glossy or mattte :)?
 

SuperSnake2012

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2005
810
0
NY
Why not let them play a video game console? I was playing NES when I was their age, they might be able to handle it :p
 

Sayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2002
981
0
Austin, TX
The iMac is actually fairly heavy and sturdy (I have a 17" Core Duo). You can route the keyboard/mouse cables through the stand. I seriously doubt a 2 & 3 year old would be able to move the computer much at all.

FYI hide the remote. We had a ton of people and their kids over for the 4th of July and the iMac remote disappeared for a few days, until my wife did the laundry and found it - after washing the clothes it had been hidden in. Still works (and saved me $30)!

USB mice and keyboards are cheap and easy to replace. The best advice to make them last (longer) is to keep ALL liquids away from them. One little (rapidly cleaned) spill and now my iMac's keypad is half-dead and one combination of letters/modifiers isn't working. I really use the Enter key and keypad for various things and not having those keys bites, hard.

Oddly my old black Apple "Pro" keyboard has had drinks spilled in it (Beer) many times (don't ask) and it works fine after a good cleaning. Not sure why it's so sturdy, but I am not complaining (except for the new Apple keyboard which flaked out with one micro-spill).
 

4JNA

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2006
1,505
1
looking for trash files
3 year old, and 1.6 year old here. wow, this is a lot of work! :eek:

zip ties, and a cordless drill. and the mac pro mouse that you already mentioned.

built a 'kids computer desk', zip tied the imac (G5/classic) to the desk, zip tied the mouse cable to the desk, zip tied the keyboard to the desk...

lots of ugly holes in the computer equipment (drilled holes in everything to zip tie it down), but i don't care because the kids are happy (not crying!), and it has lasted 1 year and counting. on the second mac mouse, but at $12 on marketplace/ebay, who cares?!

and yes, the optical mouse, one button trick for a kid is the best thing ever.

not to upset the balance of the universe, but have made two stations... one mac, one windows xp. most games play on both, and the kids learn both. my 3 year old has more computer skillz than most of the adults in town. true dat. :cool:

best of luck!


EDIT: all the people who don't have 3 year olds/toddlers... you are clueless... they destroy everything. think borg. on speed. with chainsaws. vesa arms...PLEASE!?!?!?! you must be kidding....;)
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
Sayer said:
The iMac is actually fairly heavy and sturdy (I have a 17" Core Duo). You can route the keyboard/mouse cables through the stand.
That's good to know. I will definitely route the cables that way and perhaps wind them once or twice through the stand so they don't pull out easy.

Sayer said:
I seriously doubt a 2 & 3 year old would be able to move the computer much at all.
According to Fedex, the iMac shipment weighs 23 lbs. According to the Apple specs, the 17" model weighs only 15.5 lbs, which is more than 30% lighter than the 20" model. I'm guessing that my 3 year old could not only move it, he could throw it, albeit not very far :D. He is surprisingly strong, but I think he knows better than to knock it over. The 2 year old couldn't throw it, but I wouldn't put it past him to jump on it :(. We'll have to keep a close eye on that one. Indeed Philip is the major threat. I'll be surprised if there is no crayon drawing on one of our Macs before the month is over!

Sayer said:
FYI hide the remote. We had a ton of people and their kids over for the 4th of July and the iMac remote disappeared for a few days, until my wife did the laundry and found it - after washing the clothes it had been hidden in. Still works (and saved me $30)!
Will do. I don't really anticipate using the remote at all.

Sayer said:
USB mice and keyboards are cheap and easy to replace. The best advice to make them last (longer) is to keep ALL liquids away from them. One little (rapidly cleaned) spill and now my iMac's keypad is half-dead and one combination of letters/modifiers isn't working. I really use the Enter key and keypad for various things and not having those keys bites, hard.

Oddly my old black Apple "Pro" keyboard has had drinks spilled in it (Beer) many times (don't ask) and it works fine after a good cleaning. Not sure why it's so sturdy, but I am not complaining (except for the new Apple keyboard which flaked out with one micro-spill).
Thanks for all the thoughtful advice. Wish me luck!
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
4JNA said:
3 year old, and 1.6 year old here. wow, this is a lot of work! :eek:

zip ties, and a cordless drill. and the mac pro mouse that you already mentioned.

built a 'kids computer desk', zip tied the imac to the desk, zip tied the mouse cable to the desk, zip tied the keyboard to the desk...

lots of ugly holes in the computer equipment (drilled holes in everything to zip tie it down), but i don't care because the kids are happy (not crying!), and it has lasted 1 year and counting. on the second mac mouse, but at $12 on marketplace/ebay, who cares?!

and yes, the optical mouse, one button trick for a kid is the best thing ever.

not to upset the balance of the universe, but have made two stations... one mac, one windows xp. most games play on both, and the kids learn both. my 3 year old has more computer skillz than most of the adults in town. true dat. :cool:

best of luck!
Wow, you really went the distance :eek: :D. I'm not willing [yet] to drill holes in the iMac, but it sounds like a great setup!
 

4JNA

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2006
1,505
1
looking for trash files
amin said:
Games. They play Dora the Explorer, Cailou, and several other games daily ...
i can quote any of the dialog from any of those, and more... best of luck!

backpack adventure anyone?!

george, books are for reading...

trust me. zip ties. it's all about good wipes, lotion, and zip ties... :eek:
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
4JNA said:
i can quote any of the dialog from any of those, and more... best of luck!

backpack adventure anyone?!

george, books are for reading...

trust me. zip ties. it's all about good wipes, lotion, and zip ties... :eek:
LOL :D. I'll look into the zip ties for sure, but the drill is gonna stay in its case!
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
Don't hold back. You obviously have some good advice to share :D. Great photo by the way!
 

Xeem

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2005
902
9
Minnesota
I wish I had a brilliant suggestion for you, but all that this thread made me think of was that perhaps the eMac still has a (now vacant) place in the Mac community. As with the 500 mHz G3 iMac I recently gave to my little sister (who breaks EVERYTHING!), they offer much more durability and immobility (for once, a good thing!) than anything Apple now. My only suggestion would be to go to an Apple store and check the methods they use to secure the iMacs in the kid section, assuming all Apple stores have one (the two within driving distance of me do).
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
4JNA said:
word! hide the chairs.



so do computer killing 3 years olds... or Coors... or shoe polish...

AMIN, i can give you the ICD9 code for 'death due to lack of zip ties' ;)
:D - all right you got me. I'll post pics of my solution, zip ties and all, when I get set up!
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
974
New England
I've got a similar situation, my boys are 3 and 5 and the iMac is "their" computer in the family room. It's also next to/hooked up to the HDTV in the family room. (We parents mostly use the iBook and a PC.)

The only thing I did to make it more kid friendly was keep the Logitech soccer mouse from their old PC since it fits their hands so much better than a Mighty Mouse. Otherwise, it has just been training to keep them from poking the LCD with their fingers or anything harder/sharper. We also use a bench for seating instead of individual chairs so they both can sit next to each other and play along/help each other.

Their favorite Mac side games are the Didi & Ditto series from Kutoka and they also often play flash games from nickjr.com or other similar sites with shortcuts on the desktop. They also have a number of edutainment games for Windows that run either in Parallels or Boot Camp.

Oh and all their games are mounted as ISOs on an external drive instead of having them handle the discs and run the risk of damaging them or the iMac...

B
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
Xeem said:
I wish I had a brilliant suggestion for you, but all that this thread made me think of was that perhaps the eMac still has a (now vacant) place in the Mac community. As with the 500 mHz G3 iMac I recently gave to my little sister (who breaks EVERYTHING!), they offer much more durability and immobility (for once, a good thing!) than anything Apple now. My only suggestion would be to go to an Apple store and check the methods they use to secure the iMacs in the kid section, assuming all Apple stores have one (the two within driving distance of me do).
I agree about the eMac. In fact, if this were going to be 100% for the kids and no use by the wife and me, I would have gone for the eMac from eBay at a substantial savings with greater peace of mind. Your suggestion to check out the Apple Store methods is a great one I hadn't considered. After all, countless kids play there without breaking all the iMacs.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
974
New England
amin said:
After all, countless kids play there without breaking all the iMacs.
Except that they can always bring a new one out from the back. ;)

In our local store, the iMacs in the kids area are not secured at all. [I know, I checked ;).] The nice thing about them is the low table and the wonderful seating... (kinda where our bench idea came from...)

B
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
balamw said:
I've got a similar situation, my boys are 3 and 5 and the iMac is "their" computer in the family room. It's also next to/hooked up to the HDTV in the family room. (We parents mostly use the iBook and a PC.)

The only thing I did to make it more kid friendly was keep the Logitech soccer mouse from their old PC since it fits their hands so much better than a Mighty Mouse. Otherwise, it has just been training to keep them from poking the LCD with their fingers or anything harder/sharper. We also use a bench for seating instead of individual chairs so they both can sit next to each other and play along/help each other.

Their favorite Mac side games are the Didi & Ditto series from Kutoka and they also often play flash games from nickjr.com or other similar sites with shortcuts on the desktop. They also have a number of edutainment games for Windows that run either in Parallels or Boot Camp.

Oh and all their games are mounted as ISOs on an external drive instead of having them handle the discs and run the risk of damaging them or the iMac...

B
Sounds like you've got a good system worked out there. So far their games have copied over into Applications without my having to even make disk images. I guess copy protection is lower priority with games targeting kids under 5. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

Cheese

macrumors 6502
OK, I'll take a minute or 2... We started with an iMac G3, and Griffin was enjoying a freeware app called Bambini X, which is great because he can't do anything to crash the iMac while the App is running and it is interactive, but on a very primitive level. He killed the Pro mouse. We think he wanted to find out what the red light tastes like, since he was obsessed with touching and licking the L.E.D. on the bottom, and now it no longer works. Soon after getting the G5, we got a wireless mouse and it has a recharging dock, which we located out of easy reach for him. He just HAS to touch things on the screen, and wants to catch Curious George or Connie the Cow. Soemhow, he took a pencil to the screen recently. Although I was frantic about it, several cleanings with a microfiber cloth slightly moistened with clean water made the light pencil marks disappear. We do not allow him unsupervised access to the macs, but we know that the time is coming very soon when we will be taking greater pains to protect them. I leave both machines up and folding all the time, and they get a lot of use when we aren't sleeping.