School is back in session, and your child has been loaded up with back-to-school supplies. You likely had everything from notebooks to new pencils on your shopping list. While teachers generally provide a list of needed materials, some parents want to go above and beyond.
Tech products are always a hot topic and will continue to be as the school year proceeds. Kids will want the same devices their friends have, even if you’re not ready to take that step. Your child may already be pestering you about getting their own personal device to take to school each day.
While you might be hesitant, technology in moderation can be extremely beneficial. There are even some tech products that may be worth purchasing as back-to-school equipment. As a parent, consider the following list. One of these products could be just what your child needs to excel this school year.
1. Kids Phone
Today, virtually every child dreams of the day they’ll get their own cell phone. They can text their friends, listen to music, take funny pictures, and more. For parents, there’s a lot more hesitation. They can’t help but fear that their kids will become glued to their games or encounter harmful online content. Luckily, there are smartphones built specifically with kids and their parents in mind that could make for a happy medium.
A kids phone limits many of the features that can make the technology dangerous and addictive. The lack of access to social media, for example, can put a lot of parents’ minds at ease. Some models forgo app stores entirely, so there’s no danger of kids downloading apps without parental permission.
Strip all of the bells and whistles away, and you have the perfect functional device for your child. They can call you when they’re finished with soccer practice after school. They can take pictures of the whiteboard at school to transfer notes. There’s even GPS tracking available so you can make sure your child is always accounted for. All this comes without the extra features that parents get nervous about.
2. Kids Tablet
If you’re not ready to entrust your child with a phone just yet, take a look at tablet options. Many tablets don’t come with the features and applications that you want to avoid with a cellphone. For example, some tablets don’t include texting and social media capabilities unless they’re downloaded separately. Parental controls can restrict access to those apps.
Tablets are very versatile and can be used for educational and productive purposes. There are apps that can teach every subject imaginable, as well as extracurriculars such as coding or recording music. Kids often use tablets for entertainment, which can sure come in handy on road trips!
If you want to, you can download a texting app that you can use to communicate with your child. By connecting the tablet to school Wi-Fi, they’ll be able to send you a quick message when they arrive safely. Being able to stay connected with your child — without stifling them — is always a good thing.
If you’re unsure about getting your child a tablet, an e-reader might be a good alternative. This is a type of tablet that is designed specifically for reading. It’s usually smaller and lighter than a typical tablet, so it’s easier to hold and transport. This is quite the blessing when trying to play backpack Tetris with all of your kid’s school supplies.
If your child enjoys reading, or you want to encourage more of it, this is a great product to consider. Kids can easily read on the school bus, during lunch, or even at home after school. Some e-readers can even download textbooks needed for specific classes. Carrying a slim e-reader sure beats hauling a hefty textbook in a little backpack.
E-readers tend to be cheaper than traditional tablets because they are much simpler. They also use a different type of screen lighting that’s easier on the eyes when reading. If blue light is a concern of yours, an e-reader might be the solution.
4. Wireless Headphones
Focusing on school assignments can be difficult for anyone. The time you spent in school likely confirms that assumption. Kids are energetic and would rather be playing than studying or completing homework. One way to help them focus is with a set of wireless headphones.
If you have more than one child, your home is probably pretty noisy after school. When one of your kids has homework to do, all the commotion can get distracting. A good pair of noise-canceling headphones allows them to focus on their assignments so they don’t take all night.
Unlike traditional headphones, wireless headphones are impossible to get tangled up. All you need is a compatible Bluetooth device to accompany them. If your child is still engaging in classes online, these wireless headphones are perfect for Zoom.
One of the biggest problems with tech is that it can become more distracting than helpful. Teachers will be the first to tell you how disruptive cellphones in the classroom can be. Even though they’re jam-packed with all sorts of helpful features, they end up becoming a hindrance to education.
One piece of tech that won’t be as troublesome is a smartwatch. The smaller screen is less compatible with games and social media, which are the two biggest distractions associated with technology. Yet a device as small as a watch can still be used for communication, such as texts and phone calls.
There are kids smartwatches that follow the same model as kids smartphones. They have all of the features a parent dreams of without any of the fluff. Watches are also less likely to get lost or stolen since they’re always attached to your child’s wrist.
You may decide that tech is not what your child needs for school — at least not yet. That day will doubtless come, however, and you need to make the best decisions possible for your family. Talk with your child about expectations with regard to technology, and together you can take positive steps toward healthy tech usage.