Expert Advice

Six things you need to consider when buying your child’s BYOD device for school

Knowing what to look for in your child's BYOD device for school allows you to make the best choice for your child.

For most kids it’s back to school next week and for many that means starting the school year with their own laptop or tablet.

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is the norm for most Kiwi students from Year 7, and the trend is even starting to make its way into primary schools. With so many options around, it can be difficult for parents to know which device will best suit their child’s needs at school.

While your child will, no doubt, insist on the latest of whatever all their friends have, their guidance will not necessarily lead you to what’s best.

The BYOD team at Noel Leeming suggest finding out exactly what the device will be needed for at school, as well as what operating system the school uses. It’s also important to look for something that will stand up to a few knocks and bumps!

Here are six factors the experts at Noel Leeming suggest considering when selecting your child’s device for school:

1. Start by talking to your child’s school

Talk to your child’s school and find out what operating system they use (Chrome, Windows or Apple). Your child’s device needs to be compatible.

Most schools hold BYOD evenings to inform parents about which devices are most suitable for student use. If you missed yours check your school’s website or call their office and ask.

2. Check the RAM, screen size and battery life

RAM (random access memory) is a device’s capacity to handle tasks at high speed. Without a decent RAM, doing just about anything on any system slows to a crawl, making learning time frustrating. We recommend at least 4GB.

Screen size needs to be considered. For a tablet, we recommend a screen size of 9-12 inches. If you are purchasing a laptop we recommend 11-14 inches.

The device’s battery life needs to be at least 8 hours, so kids are not having to recharge their devices during schooltime.

For more on the importance of battery life, watch this video:

3. Make sure it’s sturdy

Kids, by their very nature, are hard on their school equipment. They’re also constantly on the move in a regular school day; devices get knocked about in school bags and as they’re taken in and out for lessons.

Invest in a durable and robust device and ask whether its ‘military grade’ meaning it will stand up to a few knocks and bumps.

4. Go for endurance

Your child needs a device that will stand the test of time. You can get up to five years out of a device if you buy wisely and your child looks after it. Ask the experts at Noel Leeming for guidance on which have proven to be enduring.

5. Accessorise well

Get the right accessories, starting with a laptop bag to protect the device. Your child will also find a wireless mouse and in-ear headphones handy for lessons and completing homework.

6. Set boundaries and talk to your child about staying safe online

Once your child has their own device for school it’s harder to monitor their online use. Parents report finding it hard to tell whether their child is using their tablet/laptop for homework or to play games, watch Youtube videos or scroll through social media – because, of course, they’ll always tell you they’re ‘only doing homework’ and switch screens whenever you walk past!

Before you’ve purchased your child’s device think about setting guidelines and discuss these with your child. It’s advisable for parents to set firm limits on how much time their child spends onscreen each day.

A useful rule is to enforce that all devices are charged overnight in the living room.

Talk to your child about keeping safe online – never sharing passwords and telling an adult if they’re ever asked for personal information or exposed to explicit or confronting online material.

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