Aussie parents overwhelmed by back-to-school tech decisions

New research reveals that Aussie households are potentially wasting billions on devices that aren’t maximising their child’s potential in the classroom.

Sydney, Australia – 14 January, 2015 – As the back-to-school shopping season gets underway, new research from Microsoft Australia shows parents are in the dark on the best technology to purchase for their school-aged children – with half of parents surveyed stating that schools provide little guidance on what device to buy.

The study reveals that 75 per cent of parents are spending up to $1,000 on devices, and more than half are willing to replace these devices every two to three years. With a quarter of parents admitting to buying the wrong device for their child at some point, Aussie families are potentially wasting billions of dollars[1] on the wrong devices for children over their school life.

The findings also show 70 per cent of parents want to relinquish their decision making power when it comes to choosing devices, calling out for a range of appropriate devices to be recommended to them. Microsoft and Intel have launched a new interactive tool to help guide parents and students through the technology maze, by helping them to find the appropriate device suited to their needs.

Further findings from the research include:

  • 35% of parents let their child decide which device to buy because they know which one will be best for their needs
  • 1 in 5 high school students are stuck with a device that doesn’t do what they need it to
  • Nearly half of parents are willing to spend $300-$700 with 1 in 4 expecting to spend up to $1000
  • Just 13% of parents surveyed said that schools specify what device they should buy

Pip Cleaves, parent, former teacher and Senior Education Consultant at Design, Learn, Empower, believes technology innovation in schools can be incredibly beneficial but the wrong devices can hinder a student’s growth and development.

“In this day and age, technology is now firmly integrated within Australian classrooms, and having the right technology is critical in enabling students to keep up with the curriculum being taught. However, it’s also critical that each device is fully compatible and the student can access specific programs, otherwise they risk falling behind the rest of the class,” said Cleaves.

Jane Mackarell, Microsoft Australia Education Product Marketing Manager, says, “Whether it’s the sheer abundance of technology options available or the confusion as to the capability required of the device, parents are feeling overwhelmed about the decision at hand – but there are plenty of resources available that parents can tap into.”

“Replacing a device every two to three years can be a stressful and costly affair. Schools need to be clear on what each device must be capable of, while parents should self-educate on what new technology is available to them, and they’ll be rewarded in the long run,” she concluded.

More information can be found at

Notes to editors:

Infographic available to download here.

The “Bring You Own Device” (BYOD) research, was conducted by Student Edge on behalf of Microsoft Australia, surveyed 1,000 parents with school-aged children, along with 1000 school-aged students.

[1]  The number of households in 2011 is derived from the ABS (2012a) 2011 Census Basic Community Profile – taking into account a two child average per household, with parents replacing devices every three years over a child’s school life – with one in four parents making the wrong choice.

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Thomas Hunter
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