Looking for a NON-Gaming device for 12 year old to use to and from school

tknyc

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Oct 4, 2017
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I am trying to get my son away from his screen/video game addiction but he still needs a device to bring to school. I would really like something that can deal with school work but won't be able to have gaming capabilities. He is only 12. I'm really looking forward to your help. He is currently using a MacBook Air and while he is constantly complaining about it he is still able to play games. He plays CS Go and Steam games and Minecraft. I have seen an SSD card mentioned a lot- not sure what that is and not sure if he would need it. Thank you so much!


1. What is your budget?
I'd like to keep it under $1000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Small is fine and definitely something light as it needs to go back and forth to school on a 12 year old's back.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Decent- he watches videos for school and he likes to make his own videos

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable

5. How much battery life do you need?
He has outlets everywhere

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
NO GAMING PLEASE!! if possible!

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
photo/Video editing for sure

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Not sure

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
A few years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Not sure

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?
I live in New York City
 

velocityg4

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Enable Filevault and Firmware password. Make sure you are the admin and set a good admin password. Don't save the encryption key in iCloud. Don't setup password recovery in iCloud. Make sure you don't lose the password. The MacBook will become a paperweight if it is encrypted and you have no recovery method. This is to prevent him from just wiping and reinstalling.

I don't know if it is possible from Mac to enable the root user from a standard or lower account. Just in case enable it from your admin account then set a good password.
https://www.maketecheasier.com/enable-root-user-mac/

Parental Controls
- Apps: Set specific apps he can use (Mail, Safari, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, iMovie, Preview, Calculator, Calendar, Stickies, Notes, Reminders) Don't allow access to System Settings or any Utilities just in case.
- Web: Set specific allowed websites. That way he can't just navigate to a proxie site.
- Other: You can try enabling Simple Finder
- Time: Set access time

Disable Guest User

Windows: If your kid can figure out how to get around all of this on a Mac. He'll get around Parental Controls in Windows as well.

Password: Don't use a password you use for anything else. Don't use any personal reference which can be guessed. Think of a short quote, book title or movie title.

I don't know why he would need to bring the computer to school at 12. If it is a public school which requires a laptop. Don't they provide one?
 

COLGeek

Cybernaut
Moderator
Many schools now use Chromebooks for educational content. These devices seriously limit game play as well.

Regardless of the device, you should strongly consider (limit) the permissions he has on whatever device he uses to prevent apps/games getting installed that you don't approve personally (you need to be the admin...not junior).

Something like this would do the trick:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834234489

BTW, there are much cheaper options as well. You can visit a local Best Buy and test drive similar devices.
 

constantine_99

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May 18, 2017
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*i know this is a technology forum and all, but i still want to give my opinion anyway*

before i give my suggestion about it, i want to ask u few questions:
1. how long does your son play games everyday? (roughly, doesn't have to be exact)
2. u said your son is addicted to gaming, does that addiction affect his grade? his social life?
3. if ur answer is no in number 2, then let me ask u something, is it true that your choice right now is for his sake / is it just for your own will and interest? (maybe u had bad past with games / maybe your parents forbid u too in the past)
coz his life isn't affected that badly, i don't think gaming is a bad thing

for instance, u can take my life as an example, i'm hardcore gamer u might say, i spent 6-10 hours everyday just to play games, however, my grades are decent, i still hangout with my friends sometimes, and thanks to those games, i had friend on the other country too

games also expand my knowledge, thanks to games, i managed to becomes the highest TOEFL scorer in my college faculty
games let me expand my creativity, social skill (yes u read it right, social skill), critical thinking, reflex and more

addicition is bad, i agree, but that doesn't that u should outright ban him from gaming altogether

i'm no parent, an expert, or someone with a diploma, but by all means, i know that gaming is good, to a certain degree

nothing in this world is good if it's excessive, therefore what u should do is limit his game time (2-3 hour perhaps) but don't take the games out of his life, doing this might cause him to hate you, act rebellious, and he might try to sneak around just play games (or even worse, drugs etc)

now back to your question:
u already had the right mindset in your mind, Mac won't be good for gaming, however, no laptop out there that can't be used to play games at all (even the Mac, which is really unoptimized for gaming condition)
 

feelinfroggy777

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I would get something like this. Any system can "game". But this one wont be able to do much more than solitaire. Look for a laptop that has an i3 or dual core CPU. You want the CPU to be "u". This means low power. It is very hard for a "u" CPU to game. Given that it has integrated graphics, it will be even harder to game.

What this laptop will do is allow for basic desktop processing, such as Microsoft Office, which is what a student should be using it for. It will allow for web browsing and viewing videos. It is also not too expensive.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16834332727
 

tknyc

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Oct 4, 2017
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tknyc

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Thank you so much! I will look into that. The problem I am having is that he hacks into all the restrictions I have placed computers. He is able to override my admin on the MacBook Air. One can find almost anything on the internet and he has taught himself how to get around parental guidance on his computer. It's extremely frustrating.
 

tknyc

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tknyc

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Thank you so much. The problem is that he is on a MacBook Air. It seems PCs have much better parental control software than macs. He has thus far been able to hack any sort of parental controls I put on that computer.
 

Shotta06

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May 4, 2017
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If your son is "hacking" the computer to go around parental controls then he shouldn't be allowed on the PC. 99% of any measure you may place to prevent he will find a way around. There is no device specifically to limit what a 7-8 grader can access if he/she is PC savy. Only option is to buy an extremely cheap PC that can't play games. Something w.an i3 and maybe lower than 4GB RAM

Maybe a surface pro 2/3 with the M processor.
 

velocityg4

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Nov 21, 2006
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Enable Filevault and Firmware password. Make sure you are the admin and set a good admin password. Don't save the encryption key in iCloud. Don't setup password recovery in iCloud. Make sure you don't lose the password. The MacBook will become a paperweight if it is encrypted and you have no recovery method. This is to prevent him from just wiping and reinstalling.

I don't know if it is possible from Mac to enable the root user from a standard or lower account. Just in case enable it from your admin account then set a good password.
https://www.maketecheasier.com/enable-root-user-mac/

Parental Controls
- Apps: Set specific apps he can use (Mail, Safari, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, iMovie, Preview, Calculator, Calendar, Stickies, Notes, Reminders) Don't allow access to System Settings or any Utilities just in case.
- Web: Set specific allowed websites. That way he can't just navigate to a proxie site.
- Other: You can try enabling Simple Finder
- Time: Set access time

Disable Guest User

Windows: If your kid can figure out how to get around all of this on a Mac. He'll get around Parental Controls in Windows as well.

Password: Don't use a password you use for anything else. Don't use any personal reference which can be guessed. Think of a short quote, book title or movie title.

I don't know why he would need to bring the computer to school at 12. If it is a public school which requires a laptop. Don't they provide one?
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator


A laptop with a 7th gen Core i3-7100u and the integrated Intel HD 620 is good enough to play Skyrim and many other games. I was actually able to get Skyrim to run on a 2nd gen Core i5-2410m with an Intel HD 3000 with decent performance (~25 FPS to ~32 FPS) with low graphic settings and tweaks to the Skyrim. The i3-7100u CPU is definitely very capable of playing many Steam games, CSGO and Minecraft. It is capable of playing many free MMOs such as Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, World of Tanks, World of Warships, etc.

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is a better value than the Lenovo IdeaPad Laptop 320-15IKB since it has the same Core i3-7100u CPU and a 1080p screen for only $350. It only has 4GB of RAM vs 6GB of RAM, but it is not very expensive to buy and install another stick of 4GB RAM.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-E5-575-33BM-15-6-Inch-Notebook-Generation/dp/B01K1IO3QW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507135019&sr=8-3&keywords=acer+i3-7100u

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Parental software is likely the best solution to limit what your son can do with the laptop. However, you should definitely begin with creating Limited User Account for your son. The Admin account on the laptop should have a complex password and definitely not something your son can easily guess. Perhaps, the last name of the person you dislike the most and replacing the letter "a" with "@" or something similar so that the password is not only made up of letters.

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/limited-user-accounts-windows-10


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If you really want a laptop with very limited gaming capabilities you can buy him something like a HP Stream 13 that costs $220. It is a very basic laptop with a low power Intel Dual-Core N3050 CPU and pretty integrate graphics capabilities. It's decent enough for photo editing, but not recommended for video editing. If a laptop with a Core i3-7100u was like a teenager's first car, the HP Stream would be a tricycle.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CQ8PNA/ref=psdc_13896615011_t2_B019PF59KQ
 

feelinfroggy777

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Corwin65

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The best things about parental controls is that it teaches kids how to circumvent security. I agree with creating a user account that is limited.

I think if you really want to lock him down your best bet is a chromebook.
 
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