When determining where to put your family computer, there are many things to consider. Among the most important things to consider are the needs of the family, adequate space, and online safety.
Needs of the Family
Before you even buy your computer, you will need to decide how the computer will be used. Consider what the computer will be used for — will it be for work, studying/homework, or entertainment? By doing so, you’ll know what software, hardware, and programs you’ll need and use most. On top of that, you’ll also have a better where you should put the computer.
If it’s for work or study, you’ll want to put in a place that isn’t heavily trafficked and that’s quiet. Find an area or room that isn’t as frequently used and interruptions can be kept at a minimum. You’ll also need an area that would allow extra desk space that may be needed for papers, books, and office supplies.
If the computer is for entertainment, whether for playing video games, downloading music, watching movies, or viewing digital photos, you may want to place the computer in a more open area where more than one person can use the computer. Consider putting the computer in a family room or den as part of your entertainment center.
Once you’ve decided which room the computer will be in, based on its function in your home, be sure that there is adequate space for your computer. You’ll need enough room for a desk, shelving for storage, and room for printers, scanners, and other hardware.
Of course, you’ll want to find a spot with an outlet nearby. Keep in mind that you will want enough space for all the different power cords, particularly a space where they will be somewhat hidden. This is important so that people won’t get tangled in them and so that they will be out of reach of young children who may pull on them. Also, consider choosing an area where kids won’t be playing or being rowdy to avoid possible damage to your computer.
Online safety is possibly the most important thing to consider when determining where to put your computer. Leaving children and even teens unsupervised while on the Internet is dangerous on many levels, since there are scam artists, identity thieves, and predators constantly looking for new targets.
The best advice is to keep the family computer in area that isn’t too secluded, like a bedroom. Even if you choose a low-traffic area for study and homework, it should still be someplace that you check on regularly.
If you cannot find anywhere that is quiet enough for study and homework that is in a central location, you may want to consider putting a computer that is not hooked up to the Internet in a child’s room. This is a great use for the old computer you may have just replaced with the new family computer. This allows your child to write any papers or do any other projects in a quiet area, without distraction. If they need information or research, they can use the family computer (that is the more trafficked area) for that, since the same kind of quiet, studious atmosphere is not as necessary.
You may get some protest about the inconvenience or lack of privacy of having the computer in a more trafficked area, but when it comes to online safety, every precaution should be taken. It is important to also remember that you can’t rely on Internet filters or blocks as supervision — chances are, your kids know more about computers and the Internet than you think.
In choosing the best location, you will maximize the benefits from your computer, making it a useful, safe, and enjoyable source for entertainment and information for your entire family.