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Depends on the child. My 9 yo ds has a eMac I picked up from a computer recycling company for $40, software included. Yes, it's a bit outdated, but it serves his purposes just fine.

 

Also, his is internet-enabled. He goes on YouTube to watch Lego videos to make everything from vending machines to Star Wars ships. He also uses it to get ideas on making his own stop motion movies (using my Flip camera).

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All my kids have their own computers. Only my oldest has a laptop and can use it in her room.

 

The younger two have old desktops that are password protected so they can't get on without help and locks again after 5 minutes idle, have links to favorite games but no access to anything else and sit side-by-side on a table in the living room so they are always under supervision.

 

My youngest plays mainly PBS Kids Island, Jumpstart and some other educational games.

 

My son plays more. He loves Minecraft, Toon Town, Jumpstart and is getting ready to start Dance Mat Typing.

 

They both had Reading Eggs until the free codes went away.

 

I guess the age depends on how you feel about computer games in general, what you think they will get out of it, and if you feel it's a valid educational tool. I don't think a young kid NEEDS to be on the computer but for my extremely visual spatial (and advanced, possibly gifted, going non-stop, never shuts ups, asks questions constantly) son, it has really helped him learn a lot, and provided the occasional break for me.

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We don't have individual computers for the kids, but we do have two desktops that they can and do use. One is a newer iMac and the other is an older PC.

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Well, because our kids are borderline tech generation... meaning cell phones didn't even become popular until our oldest was in high school... we probably are in the habit of holding off on things until our kids are a little older.

 

But in a way, I've liked that. Our first three didn't get their own computers until they graduated from high school and were off on their own. Up until then, we had one central computer in the living room, and that's the one everyone used.

 

For the first time, we have a high school senior who has her own computer (as of last week :).) Her older sister got a new computer, and sold her her old one. I already don't like it, because it tends to absorb more of her free time.

 

I love computers, and my kids have all become quite computer savvy. But, I know how computer time can take over other things that are equally or more important.

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We have had a kids computer since DS was around 18 months old. It is shared by all 3 (well really just the older two right now) and is centrally located where I can keep an eye on it. That being said I won't be getting them individual computer until sharing becomes an issue with school type work, probably not till after DD is 5 or 6 or I upgrade my computer and give them my old one.

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We used a family computer for many years. When the kids were in high school dh bought me a laptop. Our two have shared the mac in the living room through the first year of college. I would say when they need it more than you want to share.

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My kids all have their own laptops, and they all use them quite a bit, especially for school. The only rule I have is the computers have to stay in common room areas. Also I have safe search enabled on all of them.

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Our youngest had her first computer at about age 5 months. Back then, there were these cute baby computer games that fit over the keyboard. One was Thomas the Train and the other was Sesame Street. Sadly, I haven't seen those cute setups lately.

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I'm not sure what the point of having a computer without internet access is. That probably sounds facetious, but I'm being totally serious. A young child isn't going to be word processing or anything. There are a few games one could install, but would that justify the cost of a computer?

 

My kids have our handmedown laptops, the ones where the batteries are busted so they have to stay plugged in. They've each had one since about age 4. They are hooked to the internet, but in a location that can be easily seen.

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DD's computer was free, it was her grandparents' old computer and we just don't have the money to get internet for it and get it updated to accept a mobile broadband card

Edited by melissamathews
wrong word
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Ds17 started on the family computer before 4yo. He got his own, 'free range' :D, internet enabled computer when he started 9th grade.

 

DD13 started on the family computer before 4yo. She got her own, 'free range--with mom watching :D, at 13....but she paid for over half of it herself. I wouldn't have bought her one, with out her paying for most of it at 13 but it has really been great. She takes it to school and uses it appropriately...so far.

 

DD5 is not on the computer yet. She has used mine a few times, but I discourage it with her. She is heavy set, and gets fixated on electronic devices already. I don't want to encourage any more sedentary time for her.

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We all have our own laptops. The four-year-old's is old and slow and can't even open and close anymore. It's set up on a child-sized table, and used mostly for Nick Jr., Paint, and Starfall. (It's going to die soon, I think, and then he'll have to share with his brother or use a tablet.) The seven-year-old has an entry-level Dell laptop (we didn't buy it for him, he inherited it from me when I bought a newer, better laptop) and he uses it for e-mails and Skype with family, watching Youtube videos, typing stories, playing Flash games, and doing school stuff. Before this setup, they shared a used eMac we got off eBay for less than $100.

 

I think kids should have computer access from a young age. It's such a huge part of life now. Because the 7YO is so computer literate, we have extensive parental controls and monitoring software on his laptop to make sure he can't go exploring too far without us. (The 4YO can't read yet, so he can't do anything unless we set it up for him anyway.)

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DD got her own desktop at about 4.5 - We were blessed to be able to buy an older desktop from our local homeschool center who was upgrading and needed them gone ASAP before a convention for $30. It doesn't have internet access though - not sure why but I've never been able to get it to work. We do use a LOT of educational games on it and dd does like to write stories in Word. We also use it to complete assignments - dd can write on the PC far better than she can handwriting, so we do creative writing on her PC.

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I guess my kids were about 11 or 12 yr. old when they got their own computers. When they were under 10 yrs. old, they just played on a family computer that we kept in the corner of our living room. Oh how we all loved the Zoombinis games! Then they started using my laptop for games and going online. That got old quickly because I didn't like sharing my laptop so everyone got computers. They had internet access with their own computers as it's always played an important part of our homeschooling.

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My kids have had a dedicated lap top for a while and we just got a new one yesterday for them that is still in the box. BUT my kids do not get free range on the computer. All computer time is accounted for (they get 30 minutes of recreational computer/wii/gaming time - all other must be preapproved school work). I don't know that my kids will ever have free range on a computer in their own rooms under my roof.

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Christmas of 2010 we got DS a computer, so he was 6....it's the computer he uses in the dining room/schoolroom, no internet connection until I turn on the WiFi router....and then it's for things on Discovery Education Streaming or Netflix that I need him to watch!

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I'm not sure what the point of having a computer without internet access is. That probably sounds facetious, but I'm being totally serious. A young child isn't going to be word processing or anything. There are a few games one could install, but would that justify the cost of a computer?

 

 

We decided to get DS his own computer when he was constantly wanting to use mine - the kid loves to type. We don't have a dedicated internet connection on it, when we need the internet on, I turn on the router for the WiFi connection. DS has a bunch of educational things I've downloaded, likes to type and plays chess on the computer if it's not online.....when it is online, I like to know what he's doing due to his age; as he gets older, that'll change.

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My kids have a laptop to share. We have had it about 2 yrs and we bought it used, so it is pretty old. They can use it in the school room (which is open to the living room and kitchen) and in their rooms to watch a DVD or something if they are sick and have permission. It is nice for them to have a computer that I do not care if they destroy (okay, I DO care, but at least it is not my computer) :)

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Our kids are barely 2 years apart so we tend to get them big things at the same time. They were newly 4 and 6 and got nice laptops with internet access (though they are downstairs and I have NEVER had an issue.)

 

Now DS is turning 8 in a few weeks and wants a computer for his room so DH is on the lookout for a good deal on a nice monitor.

 

I have a Mac but the kids use it for typing sometimes.

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