Gareth’s son wants a laptop, but he might end up spending too much time playing games. If he got a Raspberry Pi would he learn more about computing?

I just read your helpful article about laptops for children from November 2015. My eight-year-old is badgering us for a laptop. He has had a tablet for a few years, plays Minecraft and Lego games, and watches YouTube videos. I am worried that getting him a laptop will just feed an obsession with games and gamers. I would like him to learn more about computers and was thinking about getting a Raspberry Pi instead. Am I being a mean parent by not getting him a laptop or PC like many of his peers? If I go down this route, do you have any laptop recommendations for this year? Gareth

Obsessive PC gamers usually know far more about computers than professional users. In their quest for performance, they learn about multi-threading, over-clocking, pixel-shading and software optimisation techniques, as well as things like memory, disk drive, keyboard and mouse speeds. As a result, they are much more likely to build their own machines. However, this rarely applies to children as young as your son.

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