This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
Kids understand computers better than their parents. That’s just a fact of the rapidly-advancing technological age we live in. We’re talking more than YouTube and TikTok. Desktops, laptops, and tablets continue to play a bigger role in everyday life, so children are applying those computer skills to both education and recreation. It’s more important than ever to equip your child with a device.
We recommend buying a laptop over a desktop. Kids will definitely benefit from the portability of laptops, especially when it comes to schoolwork. And you will benefit from the lower price point of a laptop compared to a desktop model.
But how do you go about choosing a laptop for your kids? Well, that’s where our computer skills come in. Here’s some handy information to get you started.
Which laptops are good for young children?
Young kids need something sturdy that can handle drops or bumps. Younger kids may do some light schoolwork, play games, or watch a movie, but you can keep then processing power relatively light: There’s no reason to pay for RAM over 4GB to run a few apps for school or a fancy screen to game. The key features to focus on when shopping for younger kids are security controls, size, and ease of use.
Which laptops are good for older children?
Laptops with more advanced features will suit the older kids and siblings. They may need a faster machine with additional storage space for their school work and gaming hobbies, for instance. Faster RAM and increased screen resolution will be important for secondary school or university students who need a device that can multitask with power-sucking apps like PhotoShop or software for a statistics course. Ample storage space is a must to house things like school work and downloaded textbooks. Older kids may also need something that can slung around in a bag alongside their books. Long battery life makes everyone’s life easier, too.
How can you monitor your kid’s computer activity?
Handing a laptop to your child (and subsequently setting them loose on the internet) naturally comes with safety concerns. If you’re worried that too much freedom will result in kids landing on an inappropriate site or going into technology zombie mode, parental control software steps in to strike a healthy balance.
What is a Chromebook?
It’s worth knowing because there are a few Chromebooks on this list — and plenty more out there in the wild. A Chromebook is a laptop that operates almost solely on the internet via Chrome. These aren’t inherently laptops for kids, but their low price point, cute and compact designs, and security features do make them a good option for both parents and kids who do most of their work on a web browser. Chromebooks also store everything in Google Drive and protect against viruses.
What is the best laptop for kids?
Finding the right laptop for your kid can be complicated, so we’ve tried to make the decision process a little easier. We’ve selected the models that we believe are the most kid-friendly based on a variety of needs, with impressive options from Apple, Microsoft, Acer, and more. You just need to pick a favourite.
These are the best laptops for kids in 2023.