As a parent and a computer-user, I am often frustrated by the times that these two seemingly incompatible worlds collide. Any time my three-year-old gets anywhere near my laptop, something disastrous happens. And yet, it seems to me that with a few simple fixes, these issues could quickly become things of the past. And so I am asking the computer manufacturers to start developing some practical solutions to computer problems faced by parents of young children, starting with these five suggestions.
1) Separate “On” and “Off” Buttons
Guess what Edward’s favorite thing to do is. If you guessed “push buttons” then you are correct. And which buttons do you think he likes the best? The biggest lighty-uppiest ones of course. And in case you have never seen a computer before (but then, how are you reading this?), I have to inform you that this would be the power button. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the middle of something, only to have my son run over and push the power button, causing a hard shut off and the loss of whatever I had just spent hours working on. So why not make the big red button the turn ON button, and hide the turn OFF button somewhere inconspicuous where my kids will never find it? It’s just common sense.
2) A Universal Undo Button
Individual programs have it. Hitting Ctrl-Z will undo just about anything you have done almost anywhere. But what if you are not in a program? What if you are just sitting there looking at your desktop when your child runs over and smashes a dozen keys at once and suddenly your sound card is no longer installed and the screen resolution is off by a factor of seventy and you have no idea how to fix it? I want to be able to Ctrl-Z that junk.
3) Double-Sided Laptop Screens
Just when I am settling down to work on something important on my laptop, you can rest assured that Edward will choose that moment to demand some silly YouTube videos or episodes of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” on the Netflix. Then my choices are either: stop what I am doing and give him the laptop, or try to do what I need to do while being slapped repeatedly in the ear. But you know what would be awesome? If I could show Pony videos on the cover side of the top of my laptop while doing work on the normal side. He could sit across from me and be totally entertained and I could do my own thing. Get on this!
4) A Kid Button
Hey, I just thought of an even better way to solve issue number one! Just put in a giant flashing button that doesn’t do anything! Kids could push it over and over again and feel like something is happening, but it would not affect anything else on the computer. Maybe it could make a beeping noise or something…
5) A Force Field
Actually, this would solve all of those other problems on its own. Kid tries to throw a drink on the computer? BWOMGH! Deflected! Kid tries to stand on your laptop for jumping purposes? BWOMGH! Deflected right the heck off! Kid tries to smash all of the buttons at once while you are working? … You know what comes next… BWOMGH!
With these simple innovations, parental computer worry could become a thing of the past. Apple, Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft, and all the rest, this is real consumer feedback happening right here. I hope you’re listening.