The family computer can be a central location for entertainment, information, and communication and there are a variety of places you can put it. Here a few of the top places for the family computer and the pros and cons of each:
The Home Office
Pros: Having a home office is nice because it gives your computer a place specifically designed for your family computer, with a room big enough to store everything associated with it (hardware, manuals, papers, office supplies, etc.). It also can be quiet for work and study. Having the computer in a separate room with a door allows you to keep young children out so they don’t play with cords or damage the computer while playing.
Cons: Depending on where the office is located, it may not be convenient for regular supervision when children and teens are using the computer. Supervision is key when young users are on it, so as to protect them from the variety of questionable things and people on the Web.
The Living Room
Pros: The living room is a good place for the family computer because it is more open and allows parents to better supervise Internet use. Sometimes, the living room isn’t used as frequently as others, so it may be quieter than a den, kitchen or other family room. When integrated into the room using similar dÃ©cor elements and already existing shelving, the computer area can even look like a nice addition to the room.
Cons: Often, with computer desks come clutter. Unless you stay on top of organizing the area, it can become an eyesore to an otherwise nice room. Depending on your family, this room may not be as quiet or distraction-free as others may.
The Den/Family Room
Pros: As an entertainment hub (for video games, music, movies, and Internet entertainment), a family room/den is a great place for the family computer. It can be a large, open area which is great for allowing more than one person to enjoy the computer at once. Also, it is a high-traffic area, which lets parents check on kids’ Internet use regularly.
Cons: This area can be too loud or distracting for homework or studying. Also, if the area is used a lot by young kids, there is the risk that the computer may be damaged by kids playing around it.
Pros: The kitchen is possibly the most trafficked area in the home, which lowers the risk of kids falling prey to Internet predators or coming across questionable websites. When integrated into a kitchen nook or corner, it can become a great area for organization of mail and bills. Plus, you can use it to listen to music and share information with a group since the area is more open.
Cons: By being in the kitchen, the desk area may be overrun with a variety of things, ranging from junk mail to dirty cereal bowls to schoolwork. It may also encourage people to eat while on the computer, which could lead to damaging spills. It isn’t the quietest place in the house, by any means, which could be distracting for anyone trying to work or study.
Pros: If no children are going to be using the computer (either because they are too young to use it or there are no children at home), this can be a secure, private place for your family computer. It is also quiet, with relatively little distraction. This will work well in a bedroom if you can make it fit in with the room’s dÃ©cor well, so that it is as inconspicuous as possible.
Cons: This is not a good idea for families with children and teens because it is too secluded and harder to supervise. Some may also question having any sort of media in this room, as it can affect sleeping and the general mood of relaxation that is associated with the bedroom.
When finding the best place for the family computer, consider your family’s needs and who will be using the computer. By doing so, you can decide which room in your home is right and, as a result, you’ll put your family computer to its best use.