How to get your kids involved in purchasing a device for school

There’s a certain acronym that has been a hot topic amongst parents at the school gates for a while now, especially at this time of the year.

It’s BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, and if it’s not already a part of your child’s schooling, it’s coming your way very soon.

Stepping aside for a moment from weighing up the pros and cons of your school introducing a BYOD policy, the fact remains, our kids have been born into a world of technology that is evolving faster than you can say “Pokémon hotspot”. We all know that technology will feature prominently in their future – careers, homes, personal lives – and the chances are, they already have access to multiple devices and screens at home and have well-formed opinions about them.

So here’s some food for thought. Instead of navigating blindly through the decision-making process, why not involve your kids in the decision of which device to purchase? Because let’s face it, they probably already know a lot more than we do about what they’d like.

We talked to Jo Abi from Mamamia to get her top 6 genius tips for parents of tweens and teens to help you involve your child in choosing the best device for them for school.

1. Have a debate about laptops vs tablets.
"By Year 8, I noticed my teen was super good at arguing – about anything! So I used this to my advantage when it came to choosing a device for him to bring to school in Year 9. We were keener on a laptop, but my son wanted a tablet. So we had a debate! We both prepared arguments and did research, and in the end, he won out because he really had thought it through and convinced me that a tablet was the best choice for him."

2. Ask your child to put together a presentation with their recommendations.
“It sounds over the top, but when my daughter really, wants something, I ask her to make a presentation about it for me. They use digital presentations more and more in school these days for assignments, and she likes the challenge of seeing if she can present me with a convincing argument – as well as making it look good! When it came to her being set on a laptop for her school’s Bring Your Own Device program, she put together a great case for why a laptop would have more longevity and would cost me less in the end. After seeing her reasoning, I agreed to it and haven’t looked back.”

3. Take your child with you to the tech store.
“For me it was a no-brainer – I simply brought my son to the technology store and let him lead the conversation with the sales person about which device to buy for school. I am not ashamed to admit he knows a lot more than I do about computers! He made sure it had the best capacity for making videos, which he loves, and asked questions about battery life – things I would have never know to ask about. It was well worth it and he loved being so involved. A win-win.”

4. Bring up the BYOD conversation with a car full of teens on the way to mid-week sport.
“With any important decision for my daughter, I like to apply the car-group test. When you have a car load of teens on the way to extra-curricular activities, I often find my daughter will tell me more and her peers will happily join in the conversation. Whereas by herself, I might not get any information at all! I asked the girls about what Bring Your Own Device they were choosing and why, and it was a great way to get good advice and also hear what my daughter wanted and why. Smart kids!”

5. Ask your son or daughter to bring up BYOD with their #squad.
“Whether it’s on Snapchat or Instagram, the chances are your teen is part of an online squad, with #squadgoals. Even if it’s just a tongue-in-cheek term for their group of friends, they will have a dedicated channel for endless back and forth of teen chatter online. When I realised this, I asked my daughter to bring up the Bring Your Own Device question with them – and instantly got a snapshot via her of who was buying what, and why. Almost like an instant survey! It was a helpful way to gauge what other families were considering and helped me to work out our decision.”

6. Give your child a budget and ask them to come up with a solution.
“I know this is not for every parent, but I gave my son a budget when it came to his school’s BYOD program, and let him make the decision entirely. Did he get a laptop, which he’d originally wanted, or get a tablet and pocket the difference? In the end, it encouraged him to spend more time researching the differences between the two, and he eventually realised it was more to do with what was inside that counts, and so he kept the remainder of the money we allocated and saved up for a snow trip that was being offered mid-year. We are very proud of his decision-making skills.”

So when it comes to BYOD decision-making, don’t go it alone. Tap into the very current and relevant knowledge your teen possesses, and you might even learn something along the way.

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