As parents begin preparing their students to return to school in the next few weeks, many may be in the market for a computer or laptop for their student to use for research and other coursework. According to Bryan Eshelman of Response Computer Group, there are things that parents should keep in mind before choosing a device for their child.
“If you are purchasing a computer for a high school student, they will need a higher end computer to handle more complicated projects,” Mr. Eshelman said. “They may also need a copy of Microsoft Office as many schools require that for compatibility when they turn in assignments.” For students in high school, and especially those who are headed off to college, laptops are preferred over desktop systems as they are portable. In fact, most colleges now require students to have their own laptop that can be connected to the college technology.
According to computer magazine Lifewire, desktop systems do have advantages and may be recommended for younger children. Desktop systems are often less expensive than laptops and have a longer lifespan. Desktops also have more powerful components which makes them better suited to educational games and other programs. Desktops are very difficult to drop, unlike laptops or tablets, which makes it less likely that a child will cause significant damage. However, high school and college students find the portability of a laptop critical. They also require less space to store in your home.
“If a computer is damaged, there are things you can do quickly that may minimize the extent of the damage,” Mr. Eshelman said. “For a spill, power off the computer immediately and allow several days for it to dry. Compressed air, which can be purchased at any office supply store, may help under the keyboard if the spill is minor. If the spill is heavier, compressed air may drive liquids deeper into the device, however. Run a drive scan once the computer is dry to be sure the hard drive is okay. If the computer is dropped and there is visible damage, such as a cracked screen, take the computer to a professional.”
Mr. Eshelman also cautioned parents to educate children on computer safety in other ways. He said it is critical to have up-to-date virus software on any type of computer and that it be run often. Children should be taught not to click on any advertisements that pop-up while they are online, especially those that appear to be warnings about infections. These may be what is known as “scareware” which could lead to your entire computer becoming compromised by hackers. One way to control content allowed from the web onto your computers is to set up a family account at www.OpenDNS.com.
“When transporting a computer, there are things you can do to protect it from damage,” Mr. Eshelman said. “Don’t cram your laptop into a backpack with other hard objects and expect it to survive unscathed. The lids that cover laptops are not that strong and are not meant to support any weight. In addition, household cleaners should not be used on the screen. Instead, purchase kits that are designed for LCD cleaning. Again, make sure you know what virus protection you have installed and that it is always current in order to provide the best protection for your computer.”
Other suggestions include cable locks if your child is taking a computer to college to avoid theft and a good computer backpack to keep laptops safe during transport around campus. Secondary batteries are also beneficial if students will need to use their laptop with no access to electricity for long periods.
If you are in the market for a new computer or have one that is in need of service, contact Response Computer Group to learn more by calling 888-698-0875.