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PC or Mac for kids? – Should I buy a PC or Mac for my child?

%image_alt%This is a classic question with a twist. Not only is the question related to which operating system is better, but it’s asking which precedent to set for the younger generation.  Its one thing to test out a new operating system for yourself, but choosing the first computer for your child is critical.  PC or Mac?  Which operating system is used more in elementary schools?  Which is the better one to grow up to?

As you can imagine, there is not a clear-cut answer. But, I’d be happy to share the trends the NYC elementary school systems are headed.  Plus, I will analyze the easier of the two for parents to administer the computers.  These two factors will help you make a decision.

NYC school computer networks trends are the following:

  • iPads are being introduced as in-class aids. Picture association and videos are quickly acting as teachers’ assistants, complimenting class programs.  But, iPads are built on the mobile iOS operating system so getting or Mac or PC doesn’t factor in here.  An iPad is still not an all-around computer to buy for your child.  But, it is definitely a helpful educational aid to buy as a supplemental computer tablet as well as occupying your kid’s time with videos.
  • Dell desktops are mainly being used. The majority of schools have long-term leases and purchases from grants.  So, they’re planning to ride out these computers until the Windows operating system crashes or the PC has a computer hardware failure.  The new trend has been to replace them with iMacs, especially in schools lacking desk space.  But, traditional schools who have gone with conventional IT solutions will stick it out with renewing its IT grant for replacement Dell or other Windows desktops.

Is a PC or Mac easier to manage for parents?

  • Definitely a Mac. For now, there is no worry about PC viruses or a click-happy child forcing a Windows start-up failure.  On the Mac-side, it just works.  Sure, there could be unhappy faces or blue and gray screen issues down the line, but that usually only happens with Mac hardware issues.
  • Price tag goes to PCs. Yes, pricing has come down for Macs, but PCs are still one-third or more cheaper than Macs.

Final decision:  Both! Schools will be trending towards Macs in 5-10 years, but for now riding out their PC grants.  Kids should be familiar with both operating systems.  Just learning a new language, you should immerse your children early with Macs and PCs.  Here’s the recommended plan:  If going with a PC, buy a cheaper netbook or Dell Vostro desktop.  If they crash it, you can live with your $250 – $350 investment.  If you don’t have a Mac in your house for the kids to toy around with, buy a $650 Mac Mini for them to enjoy.  Start them early with both the Mac and PC so they are prepared for an old-school PC network environment or a trendy Mac supported school.

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