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View Full Version : Getting your kids on computers, what would you do?



moody_mark
September 7th, 2009, 11:56 AM
Hi All, I know this has probably been discussed many times, but Id like some advice from you folks on this forum...

My two older (9 and 6) kids are using PCs at school, and at home here we have a couple of PCs they use too. In school obviously its windows on the desktop and here at home they can use a couple of old PCs running ubuntu or an old laptop running Windows XP. At the moment they use any as its mostly web browsing they do. Im thinking of getting them a new PC, nothing top end but something around the 400 mark. Now the new PC will likely have Windows Vista or Windows 7 pre-installed on it, and Im thinking of slotting in a second HDD with ubuntu and giving them a dual boot choice.

Heres my questions;

1. I think its a good idea to give the kids a PC where they can choose to use Windows or Linux, do you agree?
2. Should I want until later this year when Windows 7 is on general release rather then buy one with Vista?
3. If I go for the dual os on seperate discs, which is recommended best:

a: Install Ubuntu using the windows based installer onto the second HDD
b: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install onto the second HDD
(previously I installed using the CD onto a second HDD)

3. All of the kids friends as far as im aware use windows at home. So all the games they play (unless web-based) or any silly programs they download and install only run on windows. It is a good thing to let them learn about the risk of malware by letting them learn their own lessons with spyware or viruses?
4. Are there comparable parental control tools on Ubuntu to Windows?

Id like to hear what some of you folks have done with introducing your kids to linux or giving them a choice?

ugm6hr
September 7th, 2009, 12:04 PM
Im thinking of getting them a new PC, nothing top end but something around the 400 mark.

Can I ask why?

With 3 computers between 2 of them already fully functional, it hardly seems worthwhile.

But... In answer to the questions posed:

1. If you want Windows, I think I would wait til W7. Kids hate nothing more than having last years stuff.
2. If you want to dual-boot, do it properly (not with Wubi).
3. Dansguardian is designed as a web proxy to limit internet access etc - one of the older computers could easily be recycled into a server for it.

Johnsie
September 7th, 2009, 12:07 PM
I think dual booting is a good idea... I think it would be the worst thing ever if you forced your kids to just use Linux.

BackwardsDown
September 7th, 2009, 12:14 PM
I think dual booting is a good idea... I think it would be the worst thing ever if you forced your kids to just use Linux.

Why would that be? Not everyone wants to pay for Windows and fiddle with virusscanners and firewalls to get their kids to work with Windows I suppose.

Johnsie
September 7th, 2009, 12:20 PM
I guess my main reason is that when I was growing up my parents made me use a Sinclair QL and a Spectrum when all the other kids had consoles...

On the other hand I am a professional programmer now and none of the other kids are doing what they wanted to do when they were young ;-)

It only takes a few minutes to install Avast though. Windows isn't as susceptible as Mac and Linux users make it out to be. It's moved a long way on in terms of security since the days of XP. I can understand why people wouldn't want to pay for Windows but it comes with most machines.

etnlIcarus
September 7th, 2009, 12:26 PM
Are there comparable parental control tools on Ubuntu to Windows?Parantal supervision is multi-platform.

cholericfun
September 7th, 2009, 12:27 PM
i dont think the kids really care what the label is on their OS, (at least not as much as people here... :) )

plus they can play around with windows everywhere else.

i dont think they'll learn any lesson with viruses, kids tend to not treat their stuff carefully, when its broke it will just end up in a corner.

moody_mark
September 7th, 2009, 01:16 PM
Can I ask why? With 3 computers between 2 of them already fully functional, it hardly seems worthwhile.

Yep, good question, one machine is going to be re-used as a fileserver and the webproxy as you mention is another good idea I like that. The other machine, is a laptop which was my wife's is hijacked by the kids often. The XP machine is an old works one of mine, so not really for installing anything onto, i still need to use some windows apps for work from time to time.

In reply to etnlIcarus.. I asked about parental control tools not supervision, theres a difference there :-)

etnlIcarus
September 7th, 2009, 01:24 PM
Yet oddly, they have much the same results.

Ms_Angel_D
September 7th, 2009, 01:38 PM
I would probably wait for windows 7, you might as well go with the newest and most recent version. Of course some OEM's offer Free OS upgrades in the months before Windows releases a new version. The computer my hubby bought a few years back had windows XP on it and when vista came out he got a free upgrade. I've seen some Makers advertising the same kind of deal for Windows Vista/7.

Paqman
September 7th, 2009, 01:41 PM
1. I think its a good idea to give the kids a PC where they can choose to use Windows or Linux, do you agree?


That's got to be a good idea.



2. Should I want until later this year when Windows 7 is on general release rather then buy one with Vista?


No, AFAIK, any Vista machine sold between now and Win 7's release date is eligible for a free upgrade.



3. If I go for the dual os on seperate discs, which is recommended best:

a: Install Ubuntu using the windows based installer onto the second HDD
b: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install onto the second HDD
(previously I installed using the CD onto a second HDD)


If you're confident using the CD to install, then that's definitely the better way. Wubi is awesome, but if you're happy doing an install from the CD then that's preferred.



3. All of the kids friends as far as im aware use windows at home. So all the games they play (unless web-based) or any silly programs they download and install only run on windows. It is a good thing to let them learn about the risk of malware by letting them learn their own lessons with spyware or viruses?


Depends. You're presumably the one who'll have to do the maintenance on the machine. I'd definitely restrict their accounts heavily at that age, and personally there's no way i'd give them rights to install software unsupervised.



4. Are there comparable parental control tools on Ubuntu to Windows?


No, there aren't unfortunately. You could install some, but they can be fiddly to set up. It might be easier to do your filtering at the router. OpenDNS operate a free service that allows you to block access to a wide range of content, and it's trivially easy to set up. This would block access from all machines in your network though, so you'd be restricting yourself to the same degree as your kids.

ugm6hr
September 7th, 2009, 01:56 PM
one machine is going to be re-used as a fileserver and the webproxy as you mention is another good idea I like that.

As long as you are recycling them - that's OK!

One other question worth asking is: are you going to encourage your kids to play PC games? If not, then I would suggest 400 is a lot to spend on a computer these days. Additionally, it would make Windows an unnecessary tax too.

If I was to invest in a budget desktop, I'd just get a cheap Atom device. I think my Dell Mini netbook is perfectly sufficiently well powered for everything I use it for (as my main computer now). A desktop equivalent would be reasonable for 6-9 year olds, unless they want to play games.

Novatech (amongst other suppliers) do an OS-free Atom-based device for just over 200 (exc monitor, which presumably you don't need): http://www.novatech.co.uk/

If you felt the urge to be kind, the remaining 200 would be well-spent on a Wii (or other games console, if you prefer)!

.Maleficus.
September 7th, 2009, 02:48 PM
1. I think its a good idea to give the kids a PC where they can choose to use Windows or Linux, do you agree?
I certainly would agree.

2. Should I want until later this year when Windows 7 is on general release rather then buy one with Vista?
Buy whenever you want, because OEMs have been giving free upgrades to Windows 7 since late June (at least in the US).

3. If I go for the dual os on seperate discs, which is recommended best:

a: Install Ubuntu using the windows based installer onto the second HDD
b: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install onto the second HDD
(previously I installed using the CD onto a second HDD)

I vote option b. I've never used Wubi and I never will.

3. All of the kids friends as far as im aware use windows at home. So all the games they play (unless web-based) or any silly programs they download and install only run on windows. It is a good thing to let them learn about the risk of malware by letting them learn their own lessons with spyware or viruses?
Hell no. Install some (good) antivirus and teach them why it is there, not why it should have been there when they were downloading from Limewire.

4. Are there comparable parental control tools on Ubuntu to Windows?
iptables? Otherwise Ubuntu CE has some preinstalled software I think, you could take a loot at what it uses.

Jimleko211
September 7th, 2009, 03:13 PM
Heres my questions;

1. I think its a good idea to give the kids a PC where they can choose to use Windows or Linux, do you agree?
2. Should I want until later this year when Windows 7 is on general release rather then buy one with Vista?
3. If I go for the dual os on seperate discs, which is recommended best:
a: Install Ubuntu using the windows based installer onto the second HDD
b: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install onto the second HDD
(previously I installed using the CD onto a second HDD)
4. All of the kids friends as far as im aware use windows at home. So all the games they play (unless web-based) or any silly programs they download and install only run on windows. It is a good thing to let them learn about the risk of malware by letting them learn their own lessons with spyware or viruses?

1. I agree. You never know what the kids might need for school, and OO.o isn't exactly perfect in making .ppt or .doc. Close, but not perfect.
2. I'd say wait because even though most hardware will be able to run Windows 7 (I have it installed it now, though I have a pretty powerful computer), only computers sold after the release date will have the sticker on it "Designed for Windows 7". It sounds like a stupid thing to wait for, but when money is involved it's normally better to be safe than sorry.
3. Definitely use the CD, Wubi was quite subpar when I used it.
4. Definitely let them figure it out for themselves. You know how I learned about drivers? It should have been when I built my first computer and I had to install drivers, but it was actually when I reinstalled Windows on my laptop, and nothing but the monitor and USB ports would work. I couldn't even connect to the internet. Luckily my neighbor helped me figure everything out. Same with viruses, it wasn't until my computer had a bunch of them until I realized just how annoying they were, and how to deal with them.

moody_mark
September 7th, 2009, 03:54 PM
One other question worth asking is: are you going to encourage your kids to play PC games?
...
If I was to invest in a budget desktop, I'd just get a cheap Atom device. I think my Dell Mini netbook is perfectly sufficiently well powered for everything I use it for (as my main computer now). A desktop equivalent would be reasonable for 6-9 year olds, unless they want to play games.

Novatech (amongst other suppliers) do an OS-free Atom-based device for just over 200 (exc monitor, which presumably you don't need): http://www.novatech.co.uk/

The kids seem to make up their own minds on what they want to do on the PC, I try to steer them toward having a look around the machine itself but ultimately at that age, games is what all their friends talk about and games is what they'll want (only little fun games not serious stuff)

Thanks for the link there, definitely some good prices and OS free, thing is will those little Atoms run a Windows 7 OS ok? Plus if I want to give the kids the OS choice then Im going to need to buy bundled with the OS.

moody_mark
September 7th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Hell no. Install some (good) antivirus and teach them why it is there, not why it should have been there when they were downloading from Limewire.

Your right, better to teach it the right way around, to avoid confusion :)

moody_mark
September 7th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Only computers sold after the release date will have the sticker on it "Designed for Windows 7"


Good point on the compatibility there, and waiting for the Jan sales might see good prices too :)

gn2
September 7th, 2009, 04:06 PM
Six years ago when my son was 10 I bought him a laptop for his exclusive use.
It was a good move, he is now thoroughly conversant with using a computer which is a vital skill these days.

.Maleficus.
September 7th, 2009, 04:09 PM
Your right, better to teach it the right way around, to avoid confusion :)
After my Chemistry class last year where my teacher did the exact opposite (taught us multiple ways to do a problem wrong, and then let us figure out the right way) I'm thoroughly convinced that doing it the right way from the start is the correct way.

xpod
September 7th, 2009, 04:31 PM
Six years ago when my son was 10 I bought him a laptop for his exclusive use.
It was a good move, he is now thoroughly conversant with using a computer which is a vital skill these days.

6 years ago when our son was 10 i was still too stubborn about computers & indeed the Internet to have even considered getting one.
Just the prospect of letting ours girls loose on the place terrified me back then.That all changed 3 1/2 years ago though and i thoroughly regret being such a draconian old fart for so long.#-o

The only problems they had getting on the computers once we started though was getting me off the things.

EDIT: That was only even a problem as long as the children outnumbered the computers.That`s rarely been the case for most of that time thankfully :-)

etnlIcarus
September 7th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Wow, humility on Ubuntu Forums. There's a first for everything, it seems.

ugm6hr
September 7th, 2009, 04:46 PM
Thanks for the link there, definitely some good prices and OS free, thing is will those little Atoms run a Windows 7 OS ok? Plus if I want to give the kids the OS choice then Im going to need to buy bundled with the OS.

I have never tried W7, but I thought there was a lot of hype about how it was going to be appropriate for netbooks (unlike Vista). Might need to do a bit of research to confirm.

I hadn't realised that those Atom devices only come with XP bundled at OEM prices... Presumably that will change when W7 is released, but I have no way of being certain.

W7 is only 6 weeks away - why not just wait and see what happens?

gn2
September 7th, 2009, 05:43 PM
~ i thoroughly regret being such a draconian old fart for so long.#-o ~

Know exactly what you mean, same with me.
I refused to have a computer in the house for years until I discovered how useful they could be.
Same with mobile phones, I used to think what on earth would I want with a mobile phone, now I can't leave the house without it.

pwnst*r
September 7th, 2009, 05:46 PM
Why would that be?

because it's about choice.

dualboot is a great idea.

pwnst*r
September 7th, 2009, 05:47 PM
i dont think the kids really care what the label is on their OS, (at least not as much as people here... :) )



for a lot of kids, if it won't work with iTunes, it's a big deal.

HappyFeet
September 7th, 2009, 05:52 PM
I think it would be the worst thing ever if you forced your kids to just use Linux.

Like people are forced to use windows? :rolleyes:

pwnst*r
September 7th, 2009, 05:54 PM
Like people are forced to use windows? :rolleyes:

yes, because that's exactly the same. <insert goofy rollseyes emoticon here>

Jimleko211
September 7th, 2009, 05:59 PM
Like people are forced to use windows? :rolleyes:
No one is forced to use Windows. If we were then this forum wouldn't exist.

HappyFeet
September 7th, 2009, 06:17 PM
No one is forced to use Windows. If we were then this forum wouldn't exist.

So, if I get a job with a company that uses windows, I can tell them I want to install linux on my work computer? Cool.

gn2
September 7th, 2009, 06:31 PM
So, if I get a job with a company that uses windows, I can tell them I want to install linux on my work computer? Cool.

They might not be cool with that, but you choose to work for them, therefore nobody is forcing you to use their IT equipment.

This is exactly the position i'm in, it's Xp embedded at work and I would prefer Ubuntu, but it's not exactly worth resigning over.

Jimleko211
September 7th, 2009, 06:33 PM
So, if I get a job with a company that uses windows, I can tell them I want to install linux on my work computer? Cool.
You always have a choice, and there are always consequences to your actions. If you install Linux you're likely to get fired but it's possible to do. Therefore, it is not forced on you. If you really want to use Linux at the workplace, find a place where that happens.

sigurnjak
September 7th, 2009, 06:33 PM
My friend has 2 daughters . One is 8 and another is a teenager (16 i think )
and they used to share win machine . Eventually little one never got any time to play her webkins and such so my friend decides to set her up with her own pc . Since he had enough parts and no legit xp he asked me to put Ubuntu on it . That was over year ago , little one uses it every day and does not care it is not win pc . Other pc is pain in the butt ! Teenager keeps doing her thing , downloading junk , messing thing up all the time .
I believe most recent development is that if he has to fix it and/or reinstall xp one more time she is paying for it or getting Ubuntu like a little one .

Needles to say neither one has access to his main pc !

My friends opinion is , they are kids , they will use what he decides , and if they do not like it they are free to save some cash and get their own machine when they are old enough .

Btw , as for parental control , i am sure modern routers can accomplish lots in combination with open dns .

PhilGil
September 7th, 2009, 06:44 PM
A quick word of caution on the free Win 7 upgrade...

Here in the states the upgrade only applies to Vista Home Premium or Ultimate. Vista Home Basic does not qualify.

steveneddy
September 8th, 2009, 02:25 AM
Start them off on an older machine and after they gain some skills move them upp to newer hardware.

Something like this:

drawkcab
September 8th, 2009, 03:41 AM
Kids spend way too much time with technology as it is. Get them outside and socializing with other in age appropriate play. The social skills and activity habits they learn will far outweigh anything they will pick up on a new box running the latest ubuntu install.

MC707
September 8th, 2009, 03:49 AM
i dont think the kids really care what the label is on their OS, (at least not as much as people here... :) )

plus they can play around with windows everywhere else.

i dont think they'll learn any lesson with viruses, kids tend to not treat their stuff carefully, when its broke it will just end up in a corner.

They'd probably think the worm is yet another *snake* game, the virus a *fast moving mouse feature* and the porn spyware a *leap to adolescence* xD

I'd say get them Linux, and buy a PC your self (no OEM), you can save hundreds in the M$ OS. They could be the future Ubuntu devs, too.

Anyway, those my 2cents.

etnlIcarus
September 8th, 2009, 04:02 AM
Kids spend way too much time with technology as it is. Get them outside and socializing with other in age appropriate play. The social skills and activity habits they learn will far outweigh anything they will pick up on a new box running the latest ubuntu install.

These days, kicking your kids off the PC is socially isolating them. Besides, it's the generation for whom the technology was new, who have the most trouble moderating themselves. In all likelihood, your child will integrate computer use into a healthy social life.