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A heads-up for parents: A lot of the work your kids will do at school this year will involve a digital device. So here a few things you need to know.

To be successful in school, many students must be able to go online. USA Today consumer tech writer Jennifer Jolly says her eighth-grade daughter routinely uses Drop Box and Google Docs to get her class work done.

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“All of her homework assignments every single day are online. So she has to get online somewhere just to find out what her homework is. And then 50 percent of her homework is due to be turned in online,” Jolly explained.

But Jolly said parents don’t have to break the bank to make sure their kids are equipped with the proper technology.

If you have to choose between a laptop, tablet or smart phone, she suggests getting your school-age student a laptop. And no need to purchase the top-of-the-line model, no matter how much your child tries to convince you he or she needs it.

“It’s like buying them a Porsche for their first car,” Jolly said. “Kids don’t need those expensive, fancy devices.”

She offers one other word of caution for parents trying to navigate the world of digital devices for their kids, especially teenagers…

“Get the gadgets out of their bedrooms! No smart phones, no tablets, no laptops, no computers (that can get online at night) in their bedrooms, because nothing good is happening at night when teens are on the internet,” Jolly insisted.

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A Crash Course for Parents in Back-to-School Digital Devices  was originally published on

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