Where to put your family computer is something that needs to be considered somewhat carefully. Having a computer can be a great tool for a family, whether young or older, but if it is not in the right room or placed with the family’s needs in mind, it will not be as effective.
Before you even take the computer out of the box, or even before you buy it, think about what you will be using the computer for primarily. In most cases, it will be used for a variety of reasons, ranging from family budgeting to homework to video games. By understanding how it will be used, you can best decide what room of your home will be best.
If the computer is mostly going to be used as a tool for work and study, try to find a place that is quiet, with as little distractions as possible. If it is going to be used mostly for entertainment, place it in area where there is enough room for more than one person to enjoy it at a time. Keep in mind who will be using the computer. If kids and teens will be using it, avoid putting the computer in a secluded room, like a bedroom, and, instead, put it in a room that can be easily accessed for Internet supervision.
Chances are that the family computer will be used in many ways (for work, play, and school), so some rooms may not work as well as others — you can’t please everyone. The best thing to do in a situation like this, when it involves kids and teens, is to keep it in a visible, high-traffic area. If an older child needs the quiet of a work area and computer, you can put an older computer that isn’t connected to the Internet in their room. Or, if only one person wants the computer for games and entertainment, you could put an older computer (again, with no Internet access) in their bedroom. With a little effort (and possibly some juggling), you can meet the needs of every member of the family.
When putting your family computer in a certain area, be sure that there is adequate space for not just the computer, but for a desk and storage. Often, corner desks work well — they offer a compact surface with storage. Whatever kind of desk you choose, be sure that it has enough room to hold any extra hardware (printers, scanners, speakers, etc.), as well as papers, manuals, and office supplies. Also, find an area that has enough room for all the cords and power strips. It’s best to keep those as out of sight as possible so that people don’t get tangled in them or so kids won’t play with them.
The most important factor in deciding where to put your family computer is safety. Often, kids and teens navigate the Web with little or no supervision. Few parents would even consider sending their kids out into an unfamiliar city with no supervision, yet some parents figure kids will be fine in the possibly dangerous world of the Internet. Consider the ages of your kids and their experience. By doing so, parents can decide how much attention their children need and, as a result, they can decide which room allows for adequate computer and Internet supervision.
Finding the right place for your computer is important. Talk to your family and decide as a group which room works best for everyone. Getting input from every family member will not only help you come to the best conclusion, but will also make everyone feel included in the decision.