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one laptop per bloody nose

 This weekend we’ve had the opportunity to borrow an XO Laptop. If you haven’t heard of it, the One Laptop Per Child program is designed to provide inexpensive, rugged laptops for children in developing countries.  The creators of the xo laptop define their mission like this:

OLPC is not, at heart, a technology program, nor is the XO a product in any conventional sense of the word. OLPC is a non-profit organization providing a means to an end—an end that sees children in even the most remote regions of the globe being given the opportunity to tap into their own potential, to be exposed to a whole world of ideas, and to contribute to a more productive and saner world community.

One computer costs $200.  That’s a small price to pay to contribute to the education of a child who might never have an opportunity like this otherwise.

It turns out some North Americans are also intrigued by the product and want to purchase the cheap and adorable, child-sized, green laptops for their kids.  OLPC has agreed that consumers may purchase one for their own family if they first buy one to donate. So essentially, it is a $400 pint-sized laptop.  Or, as it has turned out to be in our household, a $400 pint-sized, coveted piece of plastic over which the children are willing to beat each other senseless.

Both of them are too young to do anything besides hammer on the keyboard.  Lucky for us (and the friend who is letting us borrow it), this is a hardy piece of equipment, designed for use by children is a variety of climates. Basically the computer has become the center of all arguments from the second it entered our household.  The minute they laid their beady little eyes on this green jewel they commenced with the ear shattering shrieking, hair pulling, slapping, scratching, biting, etc.  You’d think it was made of pure chocolate.

I’m now convinced, more than ever, that this baby-laptop is not something our kids need.  To save their lives.  Because I. will. kill. them. if I hear “IT’S MY TURN ON THE COMPUUUUUTER!!!” one more blessed time.

Also. Compared to most of the world, they are already more than privileged.  We already have two computers in our household in which they have shown only minor interest (perhaps because they are not colourful and virtually indestructible – and also built out of candy-coated-crack-cocaine) and they will have plenty of opportunities to use computers in their lives.  I think, if I were to spend $400 and purchase two laptops, I’d be sending both of them off the continent.  If for no other reason than to avoid getting blood on the carpet.


Oh, yes, they look so friendly with each other now. But only because we washed all the blood off the computer. 

2 Responses

  1. crunchy carpets Says:

    The staff at Safeway were playing with one the other night..the kids were very intrigued.

    I would buy TWO if it meant my kids would stay away from MY computer.


  2. The Housekeeper Says:

    I think where laptops for kids are concerned the aspect of “rugged” far outweighs that of “inexpensive”!