Every parent knows the days of buying a bag of books and stationery before the new school year are well and truly over. Today, parents are expected to purchase cutting edge technology, such as the latest iPads and devices, which obviously places a real strain on a family’s back pocket.
Our latest blog explores this trend.
Why tech matters
Most parents understand the importance of helping their children stay up to date with changes in technology. Knowing how to communicate digitally is arguably just as important today as understanding math and spelling. It’s a vital part of most modern employment, and as such, a vital facet of any good education program.
But what about the cost to household budgets?
WA mum of 2 Lisa Sanders shared her views on the issue.
“It’s certainly something we struggle with every year, as it feels like if we don’t keep up, our kids will be left behind,” she said.
“In saying that, we do make sure we don’t overdo the tech purchases, as it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the kids need every new gadget that comes out.”
Lisa speaks with other parents and friends who work in tech industries, such as IT, to gain a better understanding of what her kids really need.
“I’m good at knowing what I don’t know, so I like to ask my friends in IT whether ‘that new iPad’ is really necessary,” she said.
“Often the newer version doesn’t have that many updates, so the kids can get away with using last years for longer than they probably like.”
The BOD Revolution
A trend hitting schools in Australia is BOD, or ‘Bring your own device’. This works well for families such as Lisa’s, as they can discern whether their children should upgrade, or just stick with the device they are currently using.
Other schools allow children to rent laptops and other devices, which ensures every child has the same tech every year. This is certainly a good approach, as although BOD has its merits, it arguably puts families with a lower disposable income at a disadvantage.
What can I do to reduce technology costs for kids?
As a parent, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your child has the best possible tech education, without breaking the bank.
- Talk to your child’s school to find out their policy on technology. Does the school ask children to BOD or rent a device? Weigh up what works best for you and your family.
- If your child does have to bring their own device to school, consider purchasing a brand that is unlikely to go out of date fast, such as an Apple product.
- Talk to people in tech industries to see whether new versions of the same device contain big changes in technology. Chances are your child can continue using the same device for many years, without impacting their learning.
- If you don’t have any tech contacts, head to online forums such as Whirlpool Technology, which features a large community of knowledgeable contributors who respond fairly efficiently. Our Facebook page is another community where tech questions can be asked.
Want to know more?
For more info on kids and technology, Like our Facebook page or subscribe to our blog. We post regular articles about how to keep children and young people safe on social media, as well as insights into balancing play and screen time and other important issues facing our children today.
You may also like to check out eebudee, a safe social media toolbox that teaches kids, parents and close friends and family how to use social media. The website helps kids adopt healthy attitudes to social media, and helps them understand how to handle cyber bullying and other tricky situations.
Our website is in beta phase right now, so we’d love your feedback!