Are laptops for school children a good idea?


I’m sitting here with my daughter’s school laptop in bed (feeling crapola with a cold) as I write this so I’m aware that I’m being a bit hypocritical…

Here’s the thing. My daughter has gone to a new school this year. A school that insists that every child should use a laptop from Grade 5. Their argument is that we live in an age where computers and digital devices are a part of our lives and that we should make use of every tool we can to educate our children. And yes, I get that.

But since we’ve had this third computer in the house we barely see our 11 year old. It’s Youtube 24/7 – or until Groover goes mental because we’ve been shaped again. She doesn’t seem to read books anymore – it’s chapter after chapter of fan fiction.

We insist that she uses the computer in public and we’ve learned that you take the laptop away from her at bedtime – what I’m not seeing is a whole lot of homework done on the computer and given that, I wonder why the school doesn’t store the wretched things in the classroom. Do they really need to take them home?

The only good thing is that at least she’s not fighting with my son now over the second computer.

So here I am enjoying her MacBook interface on our wireless system (which doesn’t seem to work for my work laptop) and whinging.

Partly it’s the lazy parent in me that finds it hard to cope – I get tired of continually taking it away from her and telling her off for exceeding our bandwidth quota again.

And part of it is my old fashioned sense of media. I want my child to enjoy books as books! Not fan fiction. Although, having said that if she was writing her own stories… well now, that would be different. And maybe endless reading of it will lead to writing her own…

In the meantime my darling Dipp has earned a merit award at school. So maybe the laptop isn’t the monster I make it out to be.

Oh, you ask, why do I have precious time on the new toy? Ah, she’s out on her brother’s bike getting some fresh air.

I asked her first!

Some parenting tips please! How do you manage computer time in your home?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Apollo-Jack