How to Choose a Kid-friendly Laptop Computer

Kid-friendly Laptop Features

What exactly is a "kid-friendly" laptop? Are there features that separate computers for grown-ups from those for kids? Many major retailers in the United States now have sections online and in-store labeled "kid-friendly" and others call out the features of some of their regular, all-ages computers as being suitable for kids. Laptops in both of these categories might include:

  • fun colors and designs
  • software for kids' activities
  • capability for playing videos and games
  • a Web cam and microphone for communicating with friends and family by video
  • durable, smudge-resistant casing
  • easy-to-clean or "wipeable" keyboard
  • parental controls such as a pre-set Web browser for kids that blocks objectionable Web sites
  • an operating system and platform tools such as Windows Home, with Office or Student, or a Mac OS
  • educational software

Another feature of kid-friendly computers that is often common with laptops of all kinds is the ability to withstand a certain amount of force or impact in case a laptop is dropped, for example. Some computers even come with a sensor that protects the hard drive on impact [source: Tynan-Wood]. Even without such a high-tech option, most laptops will be better protected in a backpack or travelling around the house if they're transported in a padded or hard case, just in case.

We'll look at personalizing and loading up those kid-friendly computers, next.