I always loved back-to-school shopping when I was a child and I probably love it even more as a parent. There is something uniquely satisfying about filling a shopping basket with glue sticks, pens, rulers and Post-it Notes, and that’s before we start putting together the first-day-of-school outfits!
However, back-to-school shopping has changed over the last few years. Now, it’s less about notebooks and binders and more about laptops and tablets. While we may have some regrets that penmanship has given way to typing and swiping, there is no denying our kids’ need to be proficient with computers. Whether it’s participating in an after-school chat group or researching a history topic, the Internet is the new go-to resource and the ever-present homework helper.
And in the same way that smartphones and tablets have created an always-engaged work environment for parents, digital devices are rapidly blurring the boundaries between school and home for students. No longer is it possible to just rely on the computer lab and the school network to complete those projects and assignments. A fast and reliable home Internet connection is now an almost essential prerequisite for academic success.
This past Spring was a perfect example of how the home Internet plays such an important role in the life of a high schooler. As my daughter completed her sophomore year, there were countless hours of home-based test-prep, most of it done online and often with the aid of a FaceTime study group. In addition, we frequently hosted the high school debate team, with up to 15 debaters all logged on to the home network as they feverishly prepped for end-of-year tournaments.
How do you know whether your home network is up to the challenge of a new school year? One way to find out is by taking the Verizon Speed Test. If your home network isn’t delivering upload/download speeds of at least 50/50 Mbps then it may be time for an upgrade. (Yes – with all those chat groups and shared assignments, upload speeds do matter!)
So have fun with those late-August trips to the mall. Those pens and Post-it Notes are still going to come in handy. Just remember to add a fast and reliable Internet to the list – your back-to-school shopping won’t be complete without it!
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