What age is right to give a kid a computer?

And

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 23, 2009
389
1
92 ft above sea level, UK
I have a spare G4 quicksilver that I am going to set up for my son. What age would you say is the right age for this though, I don't want to push him and equally I don't want him to get heavily involved in a computer when there are other things to do too, like feeding ducks, lego, play-doh, brio train sets, drawing, etc etc etc.! He is nearly 3 soon, but I am thinking that holding off would be sensible for a while yet, any input from macrumors parents would be great! Cheers, and.
 

musty345

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2010
239
2
United Kingdom
I'm not a parent but I think the best option is to leave the computer in the study or another room (not his bedroom). Let him go on it if he pleases and let him play around with some drawing applications. This way, you're not pushing it on him, or depriving him of it. This is what my parents did.

In my opinion, you should let him have one in his room at about 10/11 :)
 

NZed

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2011
1,136
1
Canada, Eh?
I'm not a parent but I think the best option is to leave the computer in the study or another room (not his bedroom). Let him go on it if he pleases and let him play around with some drawing applications. This way, you're not pushing it on him, or depriving him of it. This is what my parents did.

In my opinion, you should let him have one in his room at about 10/11 :)
This is also what my parents did. Oh and time limit is another good thing.
 

KylePowers

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2011
1,688
197
I always played on the family computer (guest room/living room) starting at around age 5 or 6. Had my first computer in my room when I was 9-10. Usually (selfishly) kept the first family laptop in my room around 11-12. Got my first laptop when I was 12-13. Built my first desktop around 14-15. Got a new laptop around 18.

Times are different though. But I still agree with keeping it in a public area until the child is 9 or 10... but age does not necessarily correlate to maturity, so it's up to you.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
2,909
My parents got me a computer at age 6 (Amiga) for my bedroom. I'd probably do the same for my kids, but I'd limit internet access.

Computers are great tools to create things on and kids can do a lot with them. I owe a lot of my creativity to my Amiga, taught me how to code (slightly), how to paint digitally, compose music.
 

marc11

macrumors 68000
Mar 30, 2011
1,618
4
NY USA
My kids started using computers and or iPads at about age 4. But like the Xbox and a tv not allowed in the rooms. All computer and online video gaming use is done in the kitchen or living room where we are and can watch what is happening.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,951
8,936
Colorado
My daughter was able to use our computer in a common room when she was in middle school. She never had her own computer to use in her room until she graduated high school and was going to college. It will be the same for my son, no personal computer to use in his room until he is ready to go to college.
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
6,022
479
Milwaukee, WI
I'm not a parent but I think the best option is to leave the computer in the study or another room (not his bedroom).
This.

In my opinion, you should let him have one in his room at about 10/11 :)
Not this.

If then. ;)

That make it harder on the parents to regulate it's use, when he/she should be studying or sleeping.
Exactly.

At a young age, most kids wouldn't know how to use a computer for things that are inappropriate. But by the time they are 10 or 11, they'll learn, from friends with permissive parents, if not some other way. No TV in bedrooms either; kids or adults. Bedrooms are for sleeping in. Seriously, medical folks will tell you this as well, especially those who treat people for insomnia.

I know that's a radical opinion, but mark it down; if you put a computer or TV in a kid's bedroom, there will be problems. Keep those things out in the open and interact with the kid while using them, and even one step further, leave them off sometimes!

My kids got computers of their own when they went to college. Until then, there was a family computer, in the Living Room. The TV was downstairs in the Family Room. Oh, and we ate dinner together as a family 7 nights a week. One kid got his first cell phone when he moved into a boarding house without a land line his sophomore year, the other one when he graduated. Until then, they didn't need one, and never asked to have one.
 
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Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,155
1,330
Always a day away
Our son got his first computer when he was 3. It's in his "office," or the room that was originally meant to be the formal dining room. We don't have TV's, video games, or computers in our bedrooms.
 

musty345

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2010
239
2
United Kingdom
This.


Not this.


Exactly.

At a young age, most kids wouldn't know how to use a computer for things that are inappropriate. But by the time they are 10 or 11, they'll learn, from friends with permissive parents, if not some other way. No TV in bedrooms either; kids or adults. Bedrooms are for sleeping in. Seriously, medical folks will tell you this as well, especially those who treat people for insomnia.
I see what you mean about the insomnia issue, but I had a computer in my room since I was around 11. I never had sleeping problems, nor did my grades suffer, in fact I think I did better because I felt like a responsible adult who was trusted with the computer in my room.

I think at the end of the day it largely depends on the kid and how responsible they are, some kids may be distracted by the computer and not work/sleep/interact with the family, but I think in that case it's not the computer, but rather the fact that they're looking for distractions, and anything in the room will distract them.

Just out of interest, after not having a computer in their room till relatively later on, how handy are your kids with computers?

P.S. Great job with having a family meal everyday, I always found it great having a family meal in the evenings. We used to stay down there for 2-3 hours sometimes and just talk!
 

boss.king

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2009
3,276
139
My parents operated a small advertising agency from home for a number of years, so I have had access to computers pretty much my whole life. I say just set it up and leave it around for him or anyone else to use. Maybe put some appropriate games on it and when he gets old enough teach him to use it for homework and research (and for the love of god teach him how to Google things properly ;)). You can't force it on him but if he sees you using a computer, chances are he will try to imitate you.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
It will be the same for my son, no personal computer to use in his room until he is ready to go to college.
Our son got his first computer when he was 3. It's in his "office," or the room that was originally meant to be the formal dining room. We don't have TV's, video games, or computers in our bedrooms.
No TV in bedrooms either; kids or adults. Bedrooms are for sleeping in.
Same deal in my house. No tech in bedrooms (there is a TV in the guest room) until they are adults. My boys (now 11 and 8) can use the iMac in their office/playroom or one of the laptops/iPads in the family room. (Previously these two functions were in one big room.)

They started using computers of one sort or another around the age of 3, drawing apps, but also they just loved viewing pictures in iPhoto on my old iBook.

B
 

BK.

macrumors member
May 22, 2011
82
1
I don't have kids and I probably never will, but here's my opinion.

We got our first family computer when I was about 7. I got my own first computer in my room when I was about 13. My own laptop for my 16th birthday, and from there, I obviously buy my own computers now.

I love my parents immensely and I thank them for spending their hard earned money on buying us that first family computer. We were broke, we always have been, but they spent money on that computer for me and my sisters, so we weren't "missing out" on anything, etc. Truly great people.

But I've learnt a lot from the way my parents did things. Mainly, that if I were to have any children, there'd be no computer/laptop in their room until they were 16, and time limits would be enforced to maybe 1 hour a day to begin with and then as they get older, 2-3 hours, no more than that.

The second I had my own computer in my own bedroom that was it. Homework went out of the window. My hobbies and interests went out of the window. I was actually a HUGE reader when I was a kid, I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 7, and got bought a new book bought from and with my mother every Saturday that I would read within 2-3 days. This stopped when I had a computer in my bedroom... everything stopped. It wasn't computer games, really, as I've never been a big gamer, just mindlessly sitting on the computer on MSN/forums/chat rooms/etc. all day every day. My social life, hobbies, interests etc. all disappeared. The computer was my hobby.

To this day, I still spend over 8 hours online a day. I'm pathetic.

I definitely wouldn't want this to happen to my kids if I were to ever have any. A shared family computer for 1/2/3 hours a day is good enough. Forget what advertisements say, take it from someone who spends way too much time on their computer - and it's still less than I used to - it's not healthy. Access to the computer and internet should be a supplement. Don't let it take over your kids' lives.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,490
33,170
Boston
I gave my girls a computer last year when they were 5. They didn't use it all that much, but once they turned 6 and entered kindergarten they started using the computer pretty heavily.

When I was 6 or 7 they didn't have computers other then those mammoth mainframes :p (being a child of the 70s)

I'd say anytime after 6 is a good time, I made sure the computer is in a public area so I can monitor their usage. Right now I'm not very worried about their surfing habits but as they get older it will be more of a concern.
 

Erendiox

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2004
706
12
Brooklyn NY
I grew up with computers, but they were always in the living room/attic. Never had one in my room, not even to this day. I didn't even have a TV in my room until I bought one for myself around 16 and once I moved out of my parents house, I keep a TV only in the living room now.

I am now amazing with computers, and I don't have any bad habits. If you want my opinion, bedrooms are for sleep and sex. Anything else is a distraction and ultimately a subtraction from a person's quality of life.
 

espiritujo

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2011
95
0
columbia, sc
I personally think giving them a computer at the age of 11 or 12 is perfect. By this time, they have probably already spent some time using the family computer to become familiar with it, and hopefully you have taught them values and safety concerns when browsing the Internet. Make sure to limit their activity time though, so they know when enough is enough. I had to learn the hard way when I was younger, because my parents did not limit my computer time, and that turned me into a lazy obese middle schooler, who had to play sports and exercise to get off my lazy butt! :p
 

JSadler

macrumors newbie
Mar 30, 2012
26
0
Nashville
I think with supervision and limit amount of use 5 or 6 would be right. But to have a computer of their own, to use when they want (put still with firewalls and parental controls in place), really depends on the child and the trust they have developed. Maybe 13 would be the youngest age I would...just my opinion though.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,423
45
Kirkland
If then. ;)

That make it harder on the parents to regulate it's use, when he/she should be studying or sleeping.
If you were to get him a cheap PC, with Windows 8 on it, you can regulate how much he can use it a day, and get a report on every site he visited, with everything he searched for in any search Engine.

When his allotted time is up the computer will shut down.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,709
267
Oregon
I don't think a child can be too young as long as there is supervision.

The attached photo is my younger son at age 2 (in 1979). He went on to get a Computer Science degree and is now maintaining/managing telecommunications at a high-tech multinational company. All of my children were computer literate at an early age and put their knowledge to good use, but they never had computers in their bedrooms until adulthood.
 

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