Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Buying a computer:

Before buying:

  • Decide:
    • Who will use it?
    • What will it be used for?
    • Do you need a portable (e.g. notebook) computer?
    • Macintosh or PC? – Macintosh is easier to use, much more widely used in schools – PCs have more software available
    • What type(s) of software do you need and want to use on it?
    • What kind of discs do you want to read or burn (CDs, DVDs, single use or rewritable)
    • How fast does the computer need to be (gigahertz)?
    • How many programs and files will you need to store on the hard drive (megabytes, gigabytes)?
    • How much memory (or RAM) is required for the program(s) you want to run?


Before your child uses a computer:

  • Encourage your child to:
    • Alternate the hand they use to operate the mouse
    • Take breaks often
  • Take steps to prevent your child from accessing or altering valuable or inappropriate files

While your child is using the computer:

  • Watch for your child:
    • Rubbing his/her wrists or elbows — might indicate early stages of serious injury
    • Accessing inappropriate material (especially if they’re online)


  • Consider buying an alarm to let you know if someone grabs it

If carrying (e.g., on a trip):

  • Watch it at all times – they’re highly pilferable

Using computers:

As often as feasible and appropriate:

  • Change positions – to minimize risk of repetitive motion injuries, etc.

Every 5-10 minutes:

  • Save to hard drive

After 30 minutes of work and after each session:

  • Save to a back-up CD, DVD, or flash drive
  • Consider saving the file under a new name (e.g., add a letter or number to the end of the name) and save the old version in case the new version has a problem
  • Place back-up CD or DVD in safe place (e.g. fireproof safe)


Thanks for reading!