The Back-To-School Technology Rush – What Do Your Kids Really Need?

The end of the summer is when you may start to notice a trend: there is an increasing number of back-to-school advertisements on your TV, radio and in your local newspaper. Eventually, it becomes impossible to ignore the urgency of getting the latest technological gadgets for your special student.
And if the numbers are any indication, back-to-school spending is expected to cost each shopper about $500 this year. But can that low cost be attributed to technology alone? A consumer survey shows that a good number of kids – 42%, to be exact – are hoping to get a new smart phone or tablet before they go back to school.

Parents Getting Savvy
Contrary to what some may believe, not all parents buy what their children say they want for back to school. For a lot of parents, what matters is being able to afford school purchases. And in order to afford them, practicality is needed.
For example, most elementary school students don’t need a tablet or laptop computer, and chances are that the use of smart phones will not be allowed in the classroom. But for older students who are attending college or university, a tablet or laptop can be a true time-saver.
Technology and Educational Benefit
Although there may be a plethora of technology that can do a lot of cool things, considering how much it will benefit your child’s education, if at all, is an important consideration before committing to a purchase. For example, elementary school children may need no more sophisticated technology than a locked mobile phone that’s been pre-programmed with emergency numbers.
In high school, where competition tends to be fierce, technology may be more important to your student. And an increasingly-high number of high school students carry with them some sort of device that can access the internet. Whether a societal assumption or a real need, being connected 24-7 is the new norm, and it seems to be happening earlier on in our children’s lives.
Then again, many schools have now written the acceptable use of personal technology into their school rules, which can mean that the new technology you purchase for your student can end up living in their lockers for a good part of the school day. This means they aren’t adding value to your child’s education, nor are you getting your money’s worth out of them.
As your student gets older and enters the realm of higher education, having personal technology becomes more important for many reasons, including the benefits to their educational experience.
For the parent who wants to get the most out of the technology they purchase for their college-bound kid, a tablet or laptop can not only be useful in the lecture hall, but also in the dorm room as an entertainment system and digital reader.
But while tablets can be great for the entertainment side of things, it’s not as easy to use them for writing essays or doing research. And so weighing the price with the practicality will definitely be important for budget-conscious parents.
Who to Listen To
A challenge for many parents is to know who to listen to when purchasing technology. For example, your child and the salesperson may both try and convince you that a tablet is the better choice, but is it really?Those parents who aren’t tech-savvy may feel overwhelmed by all of the choices out there.
When technology seems more like a barrier to understanding than a benefit, the best course of action for the parent who will soon be beginning their back-to-school shopping journey could be to educate themselves about the latest technology. Knowing what each device does makes it easier to see how it can benefit a child’s education.
In knowing which device can add the most value, a parent can then enter any store armed with the knowledge they need to make an informed and budget-conscious decision about which technology is best for their student.

  • Back to school trends

Guest author Carol Dominguez has written on a variety of topics, particularly related to technology.  You can check out some of her work helping consumers locate internet providers in Tucson.