Need Advice on Purchasing a Netbook or Laptop for 5Th Grader

Updated on September 01, 2009
M.M. asks from Brighton, MI
6 answers

I've been away from mamasource for quite some time. Sure feels good to be back!

My daughter will be 10 in September and is entering the 5th grade. She's been asking for a laptop for 4 years now, and I think now she's at an appropriate age to be given one. I get easily overwhelmed with this type of thing so thought I'd ask all you fabulous moms for help. I'd like it to be used first and foremost for her homework and school needs. Thinking she'll need internet to look up information, word processing program to type documents, presentation progam for all those special projects she'll be assigned this year. She has an Ipod nano - chromatic (the ones that come in all of those cool colors), so it would be nice if there were a way for her to sync/download music from the computer/netbook to her ipod and even play it through the system if possible. She's never gotten into computer games other than things like Webkinz, or some she can access without inserting a disc/purchasing at a store. She does have a Nintendo DSI system as well. What do you ladies suggest, and what am I overlooking?
M. M.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

If you purchase anything I would not get a netbook becuase they don't have a disk drive and this makes it hard to load programs and back things up unless you get a separate driver. i purchased a laptop for about $50 more that I could have gotten a netbook for and have never regretted it. If you do buy one I would make it more of a family laptop and so she knows that there are boundaries on this. I think it is important to have one available for her but may be too young to takes actual ownership of it herself.



answers from Benton Harbor on

Please think carefully before purchasing a laptop for a 5th grader!



answers from Lansing on

i would go with a dell they do evething . i am looking to get my daughter one for school she is going into 5 grade to and it will be a big help for school projects good luck i woul go to best buy tell them what you want it to do and they are great



answers from Detroit on

Hi M.,

Personally I don't think that 5th grade is appropriate to have her own laptop, especially a 9 yr old going nto 5th grade. For project and such they should have plenty of computer time at school to complete them. If not, I would let her use a desktop computer at home under strict supervision. 9 yrs old I think is too early for them to be able to have the privacy of a laptop or notebook. You won't know if she is emailing friends, in chat rooms, or giving out too much information to a predator (she may loose socialization skills if allowed to participate in chat rooms/email/IM). I have 1 in high school, 1 in middle school and 1 in elementary school, all three somewhere on the AI spectrum. They have a desktop that does not connect to the internet to use for homework/games and are allowed to use mine to look up internet stuff only if I am watching. (I have caught my older two several times on inappropriate sites. If you concentrate more on what your son is exposed to your daughter will take advantage of it.) The older two are the only ones that have used it for homework so far and at that not until 7th grade. In 5th grade stuff still needs to be handwritten to put emphasis on fine tuning fine motor skills, too. It also helps the information to "sink in" allowing children to learn the subject matter better. Personally I think you will do her an injustice by getting her one so soon. She will become dependant on it and not learn how to do things by hand (there is some sort of calculator on any computer, spell check, etc.). My 8th grader will be taking required computer classes this year to learn how to properly utilize the computer programs. I would encourage her to enjoy being a kid some more.

All I'm trying to say is weigh the pros and cons a bit more before jumping in to get her one. Once she has it you can't go back. She isn't even old enough to babysit yet. (I do believe 13 is the youngest by state standards.)Please, for her safety, think it over.




answers from Detroit on

I honestly wouldn't get her a laptop until she was at least in high school; you can use a desktop to sync to the ipod as well; I have an Ipod nano and use it on the desktop and usually only use my laptop when I'm in classes or at work (I'm a college student as well as a mom)

My husband is a computer programmer/technician and can build you a good desktop for not too much money. Let me know if you're interested.



answers from Detroit on

I personally like MacBooks...what do they have at her school?

Macs come with iTunes, you can get Office to put on it. I have set up parental controls for my son where he is allowed to use only certain programs and certain web sites, like WebKinz, Miniclips, Scholastic, StarFall, Smithsonian, Yahoo! Kids, DiscoveryKids, National Geographics Kids, etc. to cover age-appropriate research and homework assignments.

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