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top rated tablets & laptops

  • Kindle Fire HDX Tablet - 16GB.
  • Lenovo A10 10.1 Inch Tablet - 16GB.
  • Lenovo A7 7 Inch Tablet - 16GB.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Inch Tablet - 16GB Black.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Inch Tablet - 16GB White.
  • HP Stream 11-d000na 11.6 Inch 2GB 32GB Laptop - Blue.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Inch Tablet - 16GB.
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet 8'' High Definition Bk - 16GB.
  • Apple Macbook Pro MD101B 13 Inch 4GB 500GB Laptop.
  • Apple MacBook Air 13 Inch Core i5 4GB RAM 256GB Flash.
  • iPad Mini Wi-Fi 16GB - Silver
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi 16GB - Space Grey

USEFUL ADVICE FOR PARENTS

Choosing the right technology
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The secret to getting the best from your tech is to understand what each device can offer and how your child is likely to use it.

Here's a quick run down of the main specs you'll need to consider before making your purchase. But make sure you always check with your kids' school first, in case they have any restrictions that might affect your decision.

Size Obviously tablets are the most portable, but also the least powerful. Desktops are bigger but have more storage space and power.

Laptops offer a good middle ground, but if you just want a device for your child to search the web, stream music and watch videos, then a tablet might be enough. Older children who are becoming more skilled, might be more suitable for a larger device.

Of course devices can be synched, so if you have a desktop already at home, you can sync a child's device and let them enjoy the benefits of both.

Processor Essentially, this is a computer's brain and how fast it can think. Desktop, laptops and tablets all use different kinds of processor, with tablets being the least powerful and desktops the most powerful.

Web surfing, regular streaming and social media generally don't need much power. But programming, gaming and photo/video editing would require a bigger processor.

Hard disk This is your computer's storage - basically how much stuff you can keep on it. Hard drive memory is measured in gigabytes - GB. The higher the GB, the more you can store.

It's generally better to have more than less, although it can teach kids to clear up clutter and to keep only what they need. And with cloud storage and streaming, less space may not be a problem.

Technology skills for children

Kids today are used to using technology from an early age, but it's important that you guide them in their learning. Here are a few essential skills you should help your child to learn and develop.

Online etiquette If you teach your kids to play nice at home, teach them to play nice online. Make sure they know the best way to approach arguments and when to recognise and ignore someone who's just out to cause trouble.

Security and safety While you'll need to look after your child's security on the web, make sure they know the basics, like how to spot spam, to think before they hit download, and to always ask when they're not sure.

Troubleshooting Knowing how to use technology is one thing, but understanding how it works is another. If they have a problem, show them how you've fixed it, so they can understand how to sort out problems on their own.

Backup data Kids are good at losing things - even on their computers and devices. Show them how to save things properly and how to back them up on the cloud.

Good research The web is a great source of information, but it's not always a reliable one. As your kids get older and start doing more research, take the time to sit with them and help them separate good sources of info from the untrustworthy ones.

Android Tablet or iPad

iPads tend to be the teacher's choice, as they're more secure and have the best range of educational apps. They're also loved for their speed and quality, although that's not to say that you can't get an Android tablet that performs just as well.

The main drawback of iPads is their price. Android tablets are available to suit a large number of budgets, whereas only the iPad mini is available for under £300.

The other problem is that there can sometimes be compatibility problems with school networks, which typically work via Windows (and are rarely cutting edge) and can't always connect easily to Apple tech.

It's worth checking with you school first to check what is supported, but even if the school does not support an iPad or tablet, you'll still get loads of uses out of it at home.

Best apps for kids

There are thousands of great apps out there for kids that can provide hours of fun as well as a chance to learn. Here are some of our favourites:

Monster Math About as much fun as younger children can have while learning about maths. Guide monster Maxx through imaginative, crazy new worlds using the power of mathematics to battle enemies and solve puzzles.

Stack the Countries A building game with a novel twist - you're making a tower from the countries of the world! Your kids can learn all about different cultures, capital cities and landmarks while trying to keep their tower from toppling.

Monster Physics A great way to learn about physics and to build cool stuff. Kids can build cars, cranes, rockets and more by using up to 68 different parts. Once they're built, it's time to see how they drive.

Funky Bots This cool music app develops creativity, but is mostly just great fun. Create dancing robots, give them some serious moves and then play them some top tunes to get funky to.

Great for homework

There are no end of great apps which will help your kids in their studies. Here are just a few of the best:

freemyHomework FreemyHomework helps your kids to get organised. It tracks class schedules, homework tasks and deadlines and lets them know when stuff needs handing in. You can sync across you devices, and if schools participate, they can share documents and announcements too.

HwPic It's frustrating if your kids get stuck, especially if you're struggling to help them. HwPic allows kids to share pictures with homework tutors who can provide them very quickly with step by step solutions. It allows kids to get help but without doing all the work for them.

Flashcards Deluxe The perfect tool for revision - the much-loved flashcards app makes it easy to create flashcards on your phone for fast and easy revising. And there are more than 4 million pre-made sets available for you to download, featuring an incredible amount of different subjects.

SelfControl Ever worried they're spending too much time on Instagram or Twitter? SelfControl blocks certain websites for a period of time. It doesn't matter if they try to delete the app or switch their device off, they won't be able to get around it. It's great for creating incentives - get them to work for an hour, then let them play for an hour.

Staying safe online

It can be a little scary letting kids loose on the internet. It's important to not make going online seem like a negative experience, but you should definitely take sensible steps to protect your children from harmful content.

Parental controls Whatever your operating system or web browser, there will be built-in options to help protect your child from harmful sites. You should also look at other programs, like Mobicip, that help to prevent access to bad content.

Social media It's wise to set up their accounts with them and make sure they list their right age, as this will help the websites' own technology. Make sure they know not to list personal details and to ask you before they friend or connect with someone they don't already know.

Anti-virus software Web pros can still fall victim to viruses and malware, so your kids will probably get stung at some point. Install some good anti-virus software, and if they do pick up something bad, make sure you have a talk with them so they know how to avoid it in the future.

Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is sadly a phenomenon that most children will encounter at some point. The important thing is to make sure your kids know to come straight to you as soon as something bad happens online and not to retaliate. If things ever become serious, you can contact Childline or the NSPCC for further advice.

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