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Welcoming Our Family Computer

Many thanks to Dell and Babble for providing me with this awesome Dell Inspiron All-In-One Computer, and with another to give away to a reader. This post is part of my 3-part series on how technology fits into my family life, sponsored by Dell. See my other posts, and posts from other writers, at the Dell Family Tech page.

So our family computer arrived to much fanfare and excitement, as expected! As did our new computer desk. (Thank you nice readers for your suggestions. Even though you really rallied for Ikea, my husband I and chose this great one from Target).

I have to say that slooowing down the planning process in terms of getting a computer has really worked out. Unfortunately, I feel like my husband and I have transferred our one-click-buying/instant-gratification mentality to our eight-year old son. He knows that Amazon has become the Google of Shopping and all too well about priority shipping. In our aim for efficiency we often make quick purchasing decisions mainly saving deliberations for other things like issues of school and health. All of this to say there was a lot more discussion and anticipation about this family computer and that was a good thing.

So, TA-DA!

Dell Inspiron All-In-One Touch Computer

Here it is in the corner we thought so carefully about (we still need an ergonomic chair).

So the computer took about 15 minutes to set-up. It was really that easy. There was no software to download; everything was already installed and the computer found my wireless router tout de suite.

Not surprisingly my son loves the touchscreen feature. There’s a touchscreen keyboard image that appears on the monitor that he loves to use and when I declared that it’s just like a giant iPad, he responded, “No, it’s better.” Wow, those are some big props there.

My son now has his own computer login and password and that may have been the highlight of his month (other than Halloween, sorry DELL). He has seen my husband and me take such great care with our computer passwords over the years that he knows it’s a big deal. That’s the kind of privilege that I love granting to my son.

As I mentioned in my previous post on computer parental controls, I’ve installed the Family Security features from Microsoft Live. Even though the program wasn’t already on the computer, I was able to download and install it relatively quickly and for free through Windows 7. It’s too early to report back on how it’s working, but so far my son seems to understand (and respect) the fact that I will be limiting and monitoring his online activities through web filtering and parental controls. I also put in time limit controls that prevent him from accessing the computer in the middle of the night.

This morning, he woke up all excited, logged himself on to our new computer. I braced myself thinking that perhaps he would be going off and exploring scary news on the internet, instead he excitedly discovered the computer’s built-in feature called YouPaint which allows kids to be mini Picassos and use their monitor like a canvas and their mouse like a paint brush. I smiled. He was doing exactly what an eight-year old should be doing on a computer.

It’s science, children need boundaries and they need independence. The balance between the two at any given moment is one of the arts of parenting. My son was showing me that right then this morning. I rarely see that and I wish I could bottle that up for the future. Like for this afternoon, when I’ll need it I’m sure.

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. STAY TUNED. I WILL PICK A WINNER RANDOMLY AND GET IN TOUCH WITH HIM/HER. THEN MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT.

About the giveaway: this giveaway will run until Friday, October 28th at 11:59 p.m. EDT and is open to all U.S. residents. A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Each reader has three chances to win by leaving a separate comment on each of my Dell posts, and additional chances by commenting on the Dell posts of other bloggers participating in this campaign (you can find those posts at the Family Tech topics page). The chosen winner must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!

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