Tablets, laptops at top of Triangle back to school shopping lists this year

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Forget new clothes and shoes — this school year many parents are having to pay for laptops, tablets and other technology their children need for online learning.

“We as parents are gonna have to figure out a way to come up with and pay for the devices that they need,” said Pamela Hill, who has children in middle school, high school and college.

The type of technology students need differs depending on the grade. The staff at the Best Buy on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh said older students are coming in for laptops, while most K-8 students are getting Google Chrome books, which start around $200.

“You have to consider the operating system, the speed of the computer and the storage capacity, depending on what you’re going for,” said Sandy Curtis, assistant store manager at Best Buy. “Headsets with microphones are one of the highest things because you’re gonna have to be able to communicate through computers.”

Curtis said parents also have to consider their at-home Wi-Fi capacity.

“They’re mostly focused on what they’re gonna need from the computer department, but preparing them to also make sure that their Wi-Fi is also capable of withstanding a school year from home is going to be crucial,” Curtis added.

Between buying a laptop, a headset, and a router for strong Wi-Fi to successfully do schoolwork, the basic necessities for online learning could end up costing families hundreds of dollars.

“Parents have to think ‘okay, now there’s more stuff we’re gonna have to buy now’,” Hill said of the cost of doing online learning. “I know it’s COVID and it just happened, so we’re all just gonna have to make adjustments. But sometimes the adjustment may be more than what you can afford.”

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