Last week CES 2015 unveiled a lot of new gadgets and devices. Virtually everything in the daily life of family and business can be connected to the web. This includes our children’s beds, wrist watches and glasses. More than ever we are challenged to discern the where, when, how and why we would decide gather and share personal data ranging from videos to photos and thoughts. Internet connectivity is a ubiquitous, integral part of daily life.
And when it comes to purchasing a mobile device for your child, there are a lot of choices and considerations ranging from smart phones to tablets and mobile PCs, like Microsoft Surface. How can a parent make a good choice? Is it based upon what the child wants or what is popular among their peers?
Criteria for family devices: Function and durability
Establish purchase criteria based upon function and durability. It helps to first think about categories of devices in the home, which are not wearable. They include:
- Traditional PC (laptop/notebook/desktop)
- Tablets (mobile computing and web access)
- Smart phones (telecommunications/internet access)
- Gaming consoles (xBox, PlayStation and Nintendo)
So the first consideration is the function of the device. Will it be used for games, apps and entertainment? Or will it be used for family business such as storing photos, medical and other important documents, personal email communications, and banking.
The owner of Professional Computer Services in Granite Bay, California, Phil Taylor, recommends that parents keep the devices to be used as toys and learning games, separate from the ones you use to do family business (such as banking, email communications and medical and other official documents.) “When you store the personal data, images and documents that belong to you in the ‘cloud’, you lose control,” he said. “What are you going to do if the ‘cloud’ goes, ‘poof’?” Taylor believes that for family business involving personal and financial documents and images, parents should have a fully functional computer operating system (such as a Surface tablet) that allows for local control over the storage of data.
Devices for child entertainment and apps (activities are web-centric and data storage is primarily in the cloud):
- iPad (3rd generation is very durable)
- Samsung Galaxy
Devices for family business (where activities are predicated on local storage for personal data – more like a traditional computer):
To learn more about discerning the technology specifications and choices of devices, go to:
Devices not ideal for children’s use based upon results of durability tests:
- Surface –failed water, drop and temperature tests
Google Nexus 7 failed water and drop tests (Google Nexus 10 did survive water, temperature and drop tests)
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.