Laptop for Child

Fellow GoAers, my near-8 year old recently showed interest in my wife’s really old laptop. She toyed with it a bit but there were some technical difficulties so she didn’t get to use it much but it got me thinking she might be the right age to receive a laptop for Christmas. Thoughts on the right age for a child to get their first computer?

And if she is the right age, thoughts on specifics? I’m happy to not get her a super cheap one so that it’s actually useful, but she also has two rather rambunctious younger brothers so in the event of needing to replace it it would be nice if it were < $1,000. Thinking something like $250-500 if that’s reasonable…


What do you think she might use the laptop for? Would a chromebook or tablet meet those needs?


An 8 year old would bust that up in about 1 week.

Needs to be durable. That looks way flimsy.

It’s repairable so she can just learn how to repair it.

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The screen is not repairable. Would have to be replaced or you could put some kind of screen protector (I have no idea if this exists though for a laptop).

Thats usually what they bust up (screen).

Our little one is 4 so too early for a laptop. I encased the tablet she uses in a military grade case (shock proof and with heavy duty screen protectors). She broke the previous one (screen).


Hey, you wanted thoughts. That is mine.
Tell her to get a paper route.
Also, make her build a time machine, go back to a time when papers were delivered by kids on bikes, and get a paper route.

You want any more of my thoughts?
Matthew Perry died too young. But thoughts and prayers by Schwimmer fans made it happen.

I would get a chromebook. We used a really cheap one for a while (I think we got it for $80 at a black friday sale) and it was perfect for the kids for a while. Eventually it became really slow and now it is just sitting in the corner, but during it’s heyday my kids used it to record their own podcasts, play browser-based games, and write silly stories. It was perfect for all of that.

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There is some school software she can do on it that she presently does on my wife’s laptop. Basically math games mostly, but some reading comprehension stuff. I think that would sum up her most productive uses for it.

Aside that I think she’d likely enjoy taking selfies and listening to music. She has a very durable tablet from amazon (I know it’s durable because my sons literally have stood on it), although seeing her with my wife’s old laptop got me thinking it might be useful for her to start learning to use a computer, plus she’d likely really enjoy it.

Perhaps a more adult tablet would be better? Although I was thinking learning computer skills is useful. I’m not familiar with a chromebook, let me google that…

Chromebook seems to be just what I’m looking for, thanks everyone. I think she’d be psyched for something like this:

Incredible how cheap they are…


I am writing this on a chromebook now. I really like them.

Keep in mind that it needs to have wifi to be useful. It’s not a device you can use offline.

We do have wifi in the house, although do you mean it literally doesn’t work without wifi? Or it’s just not much fun without the internet?

Chrome OS is cloud centric. You can do some things offline, but it’s limited

Makes sense, yeah I think this is exactly what I’m looking for.

Many android apps run fine on chromebook too.

Also depending on what she will do with a Chromebook, a touchscreen is needed for some games and apps but will cost a little more.

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IIRC, you could get a pretty large flash drive to store some things if you needed to use it “offline” (like in the car on a long road trip).

But pretty much all of the apps and stored files are in the cloud and not on the machine.

just clarifying - they have no internal memory for file storage, 100% external (cloud or USB)?

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I would be weary getting my own child ( ages 6-10) a laptop. Even with parent controls it’s hard to make sure you are okay with the hours, content, and whatever else your kid might stumble upon.

Chromebooks are relatively virus proof from what I hear so that would probably be the best bet.

Word Police:
“Wary” or “Leery,” perhaps?
Or, do grow weary my correcting you?