PC desktops and all-in-ones have a number of advantages over laptops and tablets when it comes to younger users. Although tablets are easier to use, especially for small children, they are not computers and do not teach kids essential computer literacy skills. Laptops are more suitable for older children who need to take a computer to school.
A desktop computer is made up of a tower or base, a free-standing monitor, and peripherals, such as a mouse, keyboard, and webcam. An all-in-one computer features an integrated monitor and base. The most well known of these are Apple's iMac computers. However, most major manufacturers produce all-in-one PC products. These units have fewer trailing cables, tend to be more compact, and their sleek designs make them unobtrusive.
When deciding what type of computer is suitable for children, several factors should be taken into account. The cost of the system, durability, the ease with which parents can monitor children's activities, upgradeability, replacing broken parts, screen types, ease of use, and ergonomics should all be considered. PC desktops and all-in-ones are available from computer and electronics shops, and online sources, such as eBay.
Although laptop prices are becoming increasingly affordable as the demand for these products increases, desktop PCs are still the least expensive option. An all-in-one may be slightly more expensive, but it is still possible to buy a system that outperforms a laptop of the same price. Computer savvy parents can build their own desktop systems, gradually upgrading them as children's needs change.
One of the biggest advantages desktops and all-in-ones have is that they cannot be moved. This means that they cannot be dropped, left out in the rain, or lost. They do not have lids that can be opened too far, breaking the screens and damaging components. They do not use batteries that lose their ability to hold a charge after a few years. Desktop computers in particular are one of the hardiest options available. If more than one child is using the computer then there are more demands on the machine and its durability becomes even more of a benefit.
Another benefit of not being portable is that it becomes easier to keep an eye on what children are doing when using the computer. Even if they do not have access to the Internet, putting the computer in a home office, living room, or other shared space means that children are less likely to play games when they should be doing homework. Keeping an eye on computer activities becomes even more important when it is connected to the Internet. Filters can be set to keep children safe from inappropriate content, but social networking or chat programs also have their dangers. Keeping the computer where parents can see what the user is doing keeps children safe.
Desktop PCs can be upgraded easily as children's needs change. Expansion slots make it easy to add memory, additional USB ports, wireless network cards, and other accessories. Unfortunately this does not apply to all-in-ones, which often need to be opened and worked on by a professional. To keep them compact, these systems usually contain laptop components. This has the potential to make upgrading more difficult. If upgradeability is important, consider buying a desktop PC rather than an all-in-one.
When a child spills juice on a laptop keyboard, extensive repairs may be required. Since laptops are fairly tricky to fix, it may involve additional spending because the machine has to be taken to a repair shop. When the same happens to a desktop or all-in-one keyboard, simply throw away the old keyboard, plug in a new one and go. What goes for upgradeability also applies here: individual components of a desktop PC are easy to replace. Components may be more difficult to replace on an all-in-one system.
Desktop PC monitors can be changed and upgraded easily. Choose a larger screen to turn the computer into a media centre. A smaller screen means the system is more compact. A wide variety of monitors are available, from inexpensive cathode ray tube (CRT) models to high-end plasma screens. All-in-one systems do not offer this flexibility as the screen is integrated, but these computers often allow users to add another screen to the system.
Touch screen systems are becoming more common. This allows the same intuitive operation as a tablet computer and could be an excellent way for young children to familiarise themselves with computers before learning more advanced skills. However, bear in mind that these systems are more expensive than those with standard screens.
Children may find it easier to use desktop PCs and all-in-ones. Standard keyboards are larger than laptop keyboards and have more features, such as programmable hotkeys and number pads. In addition, navigating and selecting objects and programs with a mouse may be easier. Ensure that the peripherals chosen are age appropriate. A large mouse does not fit into a small hand and may be too heavy to move easily.
Laptop computers are often used lying down or balanced on unsuitable surfaces. This can lead to back problems, wrist strain, and eye problems. It is easier to control the layout, work surface, and chair height of a stationary computer set-up. This means that parents can make sure children are sitting comfortably while the computer is in use. In addition, an ergonomically designed workspace minimises the risk of back pain, eye strain, and other health problems associated with computer use. The distance between the screen, keyboard, and user can be adjusted easily to create the optimum viewing and typing environment.
All-in-one computers do not offer the flexibility and performance of desktop systems and are not suitable for all users. They are not as easy to upgrade and may require the attention of a technician if something goes wrong. However, if space is limited, the user prefers the more rounded look of an all-in-one, or the user wants a touch screen computer for a child, this is the right option.
eBay sellers offer a range of PC desktops and all-in-ones. To find the ideal system for your children, type a phrase, for example, "ASUS desktop", into the search field, which is located on every page, to see the items listed by sellers. Refine your search by choosing the most appropriate category and item specification. Use the advanced search option to further narrow or expand your search.
Always take a moment to evaluate the item and the seller before buying on eBay. All the information you need to do this can be found on the item listing page, which is accessed by clicking on an individual listing. This is where you find the full item description, buying information, payment options, the terms of the seller's policy, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. Remember to add the postage and packaging fees to the final item selling price to work out the total cost of the item. If you are buying something bulky, such as a computer, look for local sellers who allow collection to save on postage costs.
eBay's seller feedback feature allows you to see what other buyers have to say about specific sellers' products and customer service. Click on the number next to the seller's username to access this information. Take the type and number of items sold previously into account when evaluating this information.
PC desktops and all-in-ones have a number of advantages over laptops and tablets for younger users. These systems usually cost less than portable options and offer improved performance on a price-for-price comparison basis. As they are stationary, these computers cannot be dropped, damaged, or lost as easily as portable computers. In addition, they tend to be more durable, especially desktops. Some systems last for 10 years or more. Another benefit of a stationary system is that it is easier for parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing while using the computer. Aside from restricting time spent gaming, this allows parents to protect children from dangerous online activities.
PC desktops are easy to upgrade and repair, and components can be added or removed at home. All-in-ones may be a little bit harder to upgrade or repair due to their design. However, broken peripherals are easy to replace in both cases. A wider range of screen sizes and types are available, with some all-in-ones featuring touch screens. Children may find it easier to operate these systems as many peripherals are more user-friendly. Finally, it is easier to use a stationary system in an ergonomics-focused environment, protecting children against complaints such as stress injuries or eye strain. eBay sellers offer a wide selection of PC desktops and all-in-ones guaranteed to suit a child.