Laptops for Middle Schoolers

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Laptop: Taking it to school?

Aug 2012

Hi. My 7th grade son has saved his money and received matching grants from me and grandma to purchase his first laptop (Macbook Air). He loves to write, and he's so excited! His dream is to take it in his backpack everyday and use it for homework at the library or in a cafe after school for a few hours until I come pick him up. He will have a small lockable locker at school, but he can be kind of spacey and he might forget to take it out of his backpack and I'm worried the laptop will get stolen or damaged (last year some kids thought it fun to kick each other's backpacks). His grandma and I agreed to help fund his dream on the condition that he sticks with rules that he and I will set up. I'm thinking that taking the laptop to school a few days a week when he's not doing after school sports might be okay. I'm just looking for what other families/teens do. Kind of a control freak

I think this is an area where you should have control. Under no circumstances would I let a 7th grader take an expensive computer to school, unless you are OK with it being stolen, damaged, lost, etc. In my mind this is asking for trouble, regardless of demographics of neighborhood, school, etc. Judy

Get a square trade warranty with coverage for accidental damage and theft.

Mac Laptops are huge targets for being stolen as are the other iDevices. We are in Orinda schools and my daughter's screen got cracked due to back-pack soccer. Then later in the semester 7-10 girls' iThings were stolen from their lockers by a visiting BHS sports team. Snatch and grabs appear to be popular too. I know if there so far. One was as the person was exiting the bus someone grabbed the iDevice right out of her hand and ran away. Same thing with laptops too. (Pretty brazen it you ask me.) Apple computers are so light they are easy to snatch and run.

We don't let me daughters take their Apple computers to school anymore. And with their iThings they don't keep them in their pack backs and are more discreet when using them in public places.

This sounds like an open invitation for theft--especially since your child ''can be kind of spacey.'' Seems like a big mistake. Another option would be having your son buy a laptop that costs half as much, and then save the rest of the money so he can replace the laptop after it gets stolen (he should back up his files online). That way, he gets a laptop to take to school but doesn't have to suffer the full disappointment of losing it after his carelessness or some child's desire to steal it. A tough lesson to learn, but at least then he'd be able to replace it. Anonymous

Don't let your son take a laptop to school -- between the inadvertent drops and bumps of that age group to worries about theft it seems like too expensive a risk for a 13-year old. For writing stories a notebook is fine or if he really wants a keyboard get a cheap netbook or an alphasmart. My child got an apple laptop at about that age and uses it for writing at home in conjunction with a paper notebook for when she is out and about. For class presentations she usually emails the power point to a teacher or uses a flashdrive. Anon

I would not allow your child to take his laptop to school. Ever. Also there is a great theft software that is FREE you should download on the laptop. (there are others which you should also do, but cost a small amount of money.) You can't do it after the laptop is gone, so do it now. Takes less than 5 minutes. And it gives you some options if your laptop is stolen. Wish I had installed Prey Project before my laptop was stolen

I would ask your son how he would feel if his prized computer got lost, stolen or damaged. My two girls had computers in Middle School and High School and wouldn't dream of taking them to school for fear of any of the above happening. They took them only one or two times a year when they were doing presentations or special projects. I even suggested they take them a couple other times and they refused because they were sure something would happen to them. They went to private school for Middle School and public for High School, so the setting of the school wasn't the concern.

Cell phones and other items get stolen at school (more at the high school level than middle school.) It just seems like a bad idea to me. Seems like a bad idea

No. I have a mantra that I share with my boys (5th and 9th graders) re. their stuff: Take with you to school only the stuff that you can afford to replace if it gets stolen from your backpack. BUSD parent