Buying a lap top for my 8 year old son

  geek84 13:54 29 Jan 2010

I am not very computer literate but am thinking of buying a lap top for my 8 year old son.
Can you please advise what type of specification I should go for? Do you think it would be better if I buy him a 2nd hand lap top,which will hopefully last a year or two snd then buy him a brand new one - once he has 'grown out' of this one? Or, do you think I should buy him a brand new one now & if he 'grows out' of it, buy him another one in the next few years by part exchanging the one that I may buy now.

Would it be better if I buy a lap top (brand new or escond hand) over the internet or buy one from a retailer? Can you suggest any websites or retailers for this purpose? Where is it likely that I would get the better deal?

Thank You

  Clapton is God 14:33 29 Jan 2010

What's your budget?

What, exactly, do you envisage your son using the laptop for?

  Forum Editor 00:32 30 Jan 2010

he probably uses one at school, but I wondered if you have one at home. My reason for asking is that your son may well have ideas of his own when it comes to choosing a computer, and it may be an idea to ask him before making a decision. He's at the perfect age for a new laptop - he's old enough to understand how to look after one, and young enough to learn at a rapid rate. He'll be happier with a modern machine which can handle what he'll throw at it, so if the budget permits I advise a new computer.

I guess he'll be like most other 8-year olds, and will want to play some computer games. Games are generally pretty demanding in terms of computer resources and components, so machines for games need to be fairly well specified. As a consequence they tend to cost more.

Take him to a PC World store where you'll see a very wide range of laptops, and you can choose one together. Your son will have a chance to see the machines, and try the keyboard for size.

As for budget - £450/500 gets you an excellent home computing laptop capable of running almost all modern software applications. A decent gaming machine will cost more, as I said - we're talking about £700 as a starting point for that kind of computer.

If you would like some specific suggestions post back with an idea of your budget, and we'll give you some ideas.

  wolfie3000 08:31 30 Jan 2010

Also to follow on from what FE said, what type of games if any would he be likely to play?

If its just flash games that run from a website then you don't really need to worry to much about a higher end pc,
But if its a graphics intensive game he wants to play then a higher end machine is advisable.

If you have any PC savvy friends then its worth asking them too for recommendations.

  geek84 09:57 30 Jan 2010

good Morning

Just to give more information about my requirements -

my son will mostly be using the internet for research to help him with his homework and plus I want him to do some word processing, so that he gets used to the keyboard lay out etc.

He would probably want to play games as well because his friends are always discussing games with him at school, but I want to keep this to a minimum & want him to mostly concentrate on the educational side.


  Forum Editor 11:23 30 Jan 2010

& want him to mostly concentrate on the educational side."

And so say most parents. You must obviously decide what is best for your son, but if I may offer some advice, you'll do well to remember that computer games are an important part of most childrens' lives at some point or another, and your son is probably no exception. His friends will talk about games at school, and he'll want to be able to join in - it's a natural aspect of the computer generation.

I'm sure you'll arrive at a suitable compromise between the two of you, and your son will certainly find his laptop an indispensable research tool. If he's like most children of his age he'll hit the learning curve at a run, and will soon be completely at home with the computer and its software - you'll be amazed at how rapidly he'll pick it all up.

My earlier advice about taking him along when you choose the machine still stands - it's just a question of you deciding on a budget limit. If you can manage to go to the £700 I mentioned you'll find a machine that will easily handle anything your son throws at it for a while. Just be prepared to renew the computer in two or three years time in order to keep pace with gaming development - perhaps he can pass the machine on to you at that time.

  oldbeefer2 21:18 30 Jan 2010

..the dangers. I would suggest, at 8, he only uses the laptop under direct supervision. If you want to let him loose with the WWW on his own, suggest you consider some parental control - K9 is free and comes recommended by other parents.

  peter99co 11:46 31 Jan 2010

Does this filtering slow the machine down much?

  Input Overload 12:45 31 Jan 2010

K9 Site click here

  Input Overload 12:48 31 Jan 2010

peter99co, from the K9 site:

'K9 Web Protection won't clog your Internet connection, get "stale" or out of date, or slow down your computer like other products do.

  mrwoowoo 16:41 31 Jan 2010

If you have the space you will be better off getting a desktop PC.
You will get much better system specs for the same price and it will be capable of playing the latest games that his friends play.( i speak from experience with my son). A dear laptop will, at best struggle with modern games. And when it can't handle them anymore you won't be able to upgrade it with a new graphics card . Your only option will be a new laptop.

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