Choosing where to put your family computer is important. Putting it in the right place can help it meet the needs of your family and allow everyone to put it to best use.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you choose the right place for your family computer:
•Do consider the needs of everyone in the household. Do more people need it for homework? Or will it mostly be used for entertainment? Knowing how it will be used will help you decide which places will work best.
•Don’t put the computer in a cramped corner or small room if the computer will be used mostly for entertainment purposes, like watching movies, listening to music, or playing games. Usually, more than one person will want to use it at a time — allow enough room for more than one.
•Do put the computer in a quieter area, with less distraction, if it is mostly to be used for work or study. Be sure, however, to not put it somewhere where it is difficult to supervise kids.
•Do put the computer in a high traffic, visible area like a living room or family room. This allows for easier supervision and online safety.
•Don’t put the computer in a secluded room, like a bedroom. Also, don’t count on Internet filters and blocks to keep kids out of questionable sites and from talking to strangers. The family computer needs to be somewhere parents can regularly check.
•Do allow for adequate space for the computer desk and accessories. You’ll need room for not just the computer hard drive and monitor, but also the printer, speakers, and any other hardware. You may also want shelving or storage containers for manuals, software programs, CDs, paper, and office supplies.
•Don’t put the computer in area that will leave cords and power strips exposed — people can trip on them and small kids may play with them.
•Do try a computer armoire. They have compartments for all the different pieces of hardware and room for storage. You can keep the room looking tidy and organized just by closing the doors of the armoire. Plus, the doors can protect the computer from rowdy kids or any other kind of damage.
•Don’t put the computer facing a window — this could cause an annoying glare.
•Do use closets, cabinets, bookshelves, and other existing fixtures to make the computer area both functional and tidy.
•Don’t put the computer in an area where kids often play. Doing so increases the chance of the computer being damaged by a stray ball or roughhousing.
•Do put the computer somewhere with outlets close by and a phone line jack (for best possible Internet connection).
•Don’t put wireless routers on the floor or next to walls — having the router as close to the computer as possible allows for a better wireless signal. Choose an area that will allow this.
•Do consider putting a computer not connected to the Internet in a child’s room. This allows them to use it for schoolwork if there’s too much distraction around the family computer. Or, they can use it for games and entertainment in their room to free up the family computer so others can use the Internet.
•Don’t afraid to try something new. Sometimes unexpected places for a computer area work really well, like a kitchen corner or in a formal living room. To do this, try to incorporate the computer area into the surrounding dÃ©cor of the room by matching furniture colors or other elements of the room.
•Do be adaptable. You may put the family computer in one area, but as your family grows and gets older, the needs of your family will most likely change. You may have to decide all over again and shuffle some things around to put the computer in the best place, but adapting will ensure that the computer remains a useful tool and source of enjoyment for the family.