Education

Parents’ guide to school tech for 14 years+

When young people get to the age of fourteen and over, their use of tech begins to differ from younger kids. Yes, they use laptops and all the usual suspects, but they also discover the more fashionable and trendy items! And, of course, those who are leaving home and going to uni have other tech considerations. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tech items…

Laptops: For home or campus

Most students will need a laptop for work – whether in school, college, or for working from home, dorms or in a café! Therefore, a lightweight model is always good, especially if you have to lug them long distances around campus. You’ll need them for Zoom calls, streaming lectures, browsing, research and doing all the projects thrown at you. Your laptop will also likely play a leading role in your entertainment schedule, so it will have to be suitable for streaming and possibly gaming.

But having a laptop is just the start. It’s also advisable to have a sturdy bag to carry it in (essential, really), headphones, spare power, and possibly an external hard-drive to save all your work. Add to this a power-bank, a printer (especially if you’re at uni), and even some wearable fitness tech so that you can get all those steps in, even if you’re idea of fitness is a regular trip to the off licence. 

Printers: More relevant than ever!

Even though a desktop or laptop will be a student’s main tool for the upcoming school year, it’s inevitable that they will have to print off projects and essays. So you’ll need to make sure your printer is in working order. If it’s not, you may need to buy a new one. And if your son or daughter is bound for uni, it’s pretty much essential. Yes, uni’s have communal printers, but we wish we had a pound for every time we’ve heard this: “The queues went on for miles, so I didn’t bother!” Just get your own printer – they’re cheap these days and ink isn’t as expensive as it used to be. It’s a no-brainer. You can pick up a decent printer for the same price as a night out.

We’d strongly suggest an all-in-one (AIO) model, which will include a scanner for making copies and digitising written assignments for emailing to your teacher or lecturer. Whether you want an inkjet or laser model depends largely on your need for colour printing versus monochrome text output. If you’ll need high-volume printing, go for a laserjet. For a smaller workload, an inkjet is perfect.

Headphones

Headphones really are essential. At home or at uni, it’s likely there will be other people around – and they often don’t consider others who are working. If you really want to block out distractions, consider noise-cancelling headphones. These use microphones and audio processing to cancel out outside sound, reducing noise much better than just thick earcups and properly fitted ear-tips. Active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones are generally more expensive, but a set can be worth it in a noisy house or dorm.

Security Software

When your homework or uni project is stored in the cloud, it’s much more difficult to come up with an excuse when a deadline has arrived – and you haven’t met it! The days of “the dog ate my homework” are long gone, but there are new security issues to think about. For younger students, it’s important to protect their devices against ransomware and other types of malware – so take a look at the anti-virus software.

Ideally, you’ll need a product which has what is called a ‘central online console’. This lets you monitor your installations. So, in simple terms: if your child disables antivirus protection – some teenagers do this as they think it improves the performance of online games! –  then you’ll know it and can rectify it! With some models you can re-enable protection remotely.

Speakers

Bluetooth speakers are the perfect purchase if you want high quality audio at home, or in your uni dorm. They’re also perfect for those days off when planning an impulsive trip to the beach. They’re compact and easy to transport.

Other things

For those going to uni, it may be a good idea to get an adjustable laptop riser, as in most cases, you probably won’t know the height of tables of chairs in your uni accommodation or in classes. Also useful at uni is a video doorbell, for that added layer of security, especially as there will probably be lots of people calling round that you don’t know if you’re sharing your digs with others. And, you can access it remotely and interact with the caller.

OK, that’s our quick round up tech for teenagers and older students. Remember, Ebuyer has a whole host of quality tech. Take a look here.

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