HOW TO HELP YOUR KIDS MANAGE THEIR LAPTOPS (AND REDUCE YOUR HEADACHES)
Now, I know at first glance this might seem humorous to many parents – helping their tech-savvy children with their laptops – but PLEASE read on – it could possibly save you some headaches and even some money!
Along with lunchboxes, pencil cases and hopefully a little completed homework, many Australian school kids also count laptops as a ‘must have’ for their daily schooling life. While some high schools will provide laptops, others may require (or heavily suggest) that one is purchased. Needless to say it can be a really expensive experience!
And we’ve all heard the horror stories: kids leaving their laptops on trains, keyboards that no longer move (thanks to a can of Coke) and laptops riddled with viruses (from game sharing) that require very expensive repairs.
So, regardless of whether you are hiring, borrowing, leasing or now owning a laptop, it is absolutely in your interest to make sure your kids understand how to look after their expensive machines.
Here are a few things you can do to help increase the lifespan of your kids’ laptops:
- Make sure it is insured. If you are renting the laptop, this may be included but please check. If not, get it ASAP.
- Insist the laptop is transported in a bag at all times. And no, a sports bag does not count!
- Buy the toughest, strongest laptop bag or sleeve you can find. The chance of the laptop being dropped and thrown about is actually quite high – so this is an essential investment.
- Don’t let your children yank out the power cord from the socket. Tugging the cord rather than putting their hand directly on the plug will mean you will be purchasing several replacement cords. I average one a year!
- Absolutely no drinks or food while using the laptop. No exceptions, not even fruit or vegetables.
- Make sure your child’s laptop has up-to-date security software. Even if your child’s laptop is ‘managed’ by their school, security software is essential as the minute they leave the school wi-fi zone, there is no safety net. You may need to speak to the IT Department at your child’s school to get ‘admin’ privileges to install it. Check out McAfee Total Protection for a comprehensive security solution. Personal laptops do not equal unlimited access. Once you have put security software on your children’s laptop talk to them about the time they spend online, impose limits and block their access to inappropriate content by filtering TV show and movies by ratings.
Now, if all else fails, and they are just not looking after their laptop, you could always try and ‘dock’ their pocket money. I always find this strategy particularly fruitful!
Till next time,