There are many things to consider when deciding where to put the family computer. These considerations should include the questions of who, what, where, and why.
Who will be using the computer?
When deciding where the family computer should be located, one of the most important things to consider is who will be using the computer. If your family is really young or mostly out of the home, you (and your spouse, if applicable), will probably be the only ones using it. In this case, any room would work, even your bedroom, since supervising Internet use and safety isn’t your main concern.
If you do have children or teens that are using the computer, you must consider safety when deciding where to put your computer, no matter how old or experienced they are with the Internet. Safety is the top consideration to make when placing your family computer in the best spot. In this case, you will want to keep the computer in a place that isn’t too secluded. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a high-traffic area, but it should be somewhere you can easily check now and again. When you keep in mind who is using the computer, you can best decide the best area that allows the necessary supervision.
What will the computer be used for?
Once you have considered who will be using the computer, the next step is to decide what the computer will be used for. This is key for help in deciding which room is best. If the family computer will mostly be used for work, studying, and homework, you may want to put the computer in a more quiet area, with less interruption and distraction (like in a living room rather than a den or kitchen).
If the computer will be used for entertainment — like for watching movies, playing video games, downloading and listening to music, etc. — you’ll probably want enough room so that more than one person can use or watch the computer. If your computer is going to be used for all of the above reasons, try to make necessary compromises that fit your particular situation best. If your child needs a computer for schoolwork in a quiet area, consider putting an older computer (like your previous one) that not connected to the Internet in the child’s room. This helps meet the needs for all involved.
Where is the best place for the computer?
The answer to this question varies from family to family — there is no one answer. What works for one family could be totally wrong for another. But there are a few general guidelines and considerations to keep in mind.
Whatever room you put it in, be sure that there is enough space for a desk, any other hardware (printers, scanners, etc.), and storage (for manuals, paper, office supplies). You’ll also want a room with a good light source (too much glare from the sun can be a problem) and a nearby outlet. Be sure to also consider the space you’ll need for cords and power strips — you’ll want them to be out of the way so as to avoid people tripping on or kids playing with them.
There are many options for where to put the computer and you can even put computers in unexpected places, like a kitchen nook or corner, in a living room, or in your bedroom. The key is to make it blend in and still be functional. Or, you can set up a traditional office and put your computer in there. There are many choices — just consider what will work best for your family’s needs.
Why is this important to you?
When considering where to put your computer, you must know why you’re putting it where you are. For example, why are you putting the computer in the family room or den? Because it will be used mostly for entertainment purposes, so putting it in this room puts it with all the other entertainment fixtures. Another example is, why are you putting it in a high-traffic area? So you can keep your kids safe on the Internet through regular supervision. By knowing why you need or want your computer in a certain place, you’ll better understand your family’s needs and how the computer will function in your home. Include the entire household in the decision — it is the family computer, after all.