Thursday, 24 July 2014

Teens, Tech & keeping my "Awesome Auntie" status: #Birthday Gift Ideas 4 #Tech Savvy Teens

I am the proud (ish) mother of two teen boys, and Auntie Cathy to a teen niece in University, and two teen nephews. I have an up and coming tween niece who also calls me Auntie. I work hard to keep my Awesome Auntie (and Mom) status with this discerning crowd. I would never want to exclude my two lovely 4 year old nephews, but this is not about them, because quite frankly they are easy to buy for at Birthday and Christmas time. For the younger kids opening the gift is almost as much fun as the actual gift, but not so for the teens. Teens have "opinions".

In order to keep my standing as "Awesome Auntie" it's important to keep up on what teens want and need; understanding there is a difference. Not to worry you won't find me twerking any time soon, but I do like to stay on top of the tech that is oh so popular with the teens in my life. My kids don't know the home phone numbers of most of their friends. They communicate in a completely different way than I did. The same holds true for school work, research, how they access news, and view media. 

Both my son and my nephew have birthdays in July and as I perused my favourite tech websites searching for clues and ideas for their birthday gifts, I decided to share some with you. I figured there must be other awesome aunties who might like to like to know what I came across on my teen tech birthday gift idea journey.

Just a note, clearly some of these are out of the Auntie gift budget even if I am awesome, but I often go together with my siblings to purchase larger more expensive items on the kid's wish lists. Or I get the accessories and let the parents buy the big ticket main event.

  • XBox One  ($399-$499 depending on package) plus there are accessories, games and Xbox Live Gift Cards that fit most budgets.
  • Play Station 4  ($449 - $469 depending on package) plus there are accessories, games and the Play Station Plus Gift Cards that fit most budgets.
  • Long Distance Gift Cards come in a variety of denominations and from a variety of providers.
  • Portable Back-Up Batteries or Chargers to recharge a phone or tablet. I have a Pocket Booster by NEXTEK Energy that I like ($40) but there are many on the market.
  • Apple iPad Mini (prices range between $319- $529 depending on the model) Don't forget that cases, keyboards, stands, Apple or iTunes gift cards are always big hits for those teens who are fans of the "fruit". 
  • Tablets have become very reasonable these days and a great gift for a teen. Your best bet is decide on a budget and then go in and speak with the staff at your favourite store. If a tablet doesn't fit your budget, accessories like cases, keyboards, stylus, and gift cards for the appropriate app store are available in a wide range of price points. Personally I'm a fan of the Samsung Tab 3. (But I must admit I have my eye on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3  for me NOT the teens).
  • Laptops are almost a necessity for school by the time kids reach their teens. Maybe a laptop is not in your budget (as an Auntie) but there are tons of great accessories and bags that might be. An External Hard Drive to back up and store all their "stuff" is a great option as well! I have a Dell Vostro and Hubby and one of my kids also have Dell laptops. We have owned several HP laptops and been very happy with those as well. 
  • Printers print copy and scan these days and are pretty much a must have for school. You can find printers that fit all budgets, but sometimes paying a bit more for the printer will save you in the long run on supplies. Remember paper and ink cartridges make great gifts too! We currently have 2 HP Canada wireless printers that are great and a Dell Canada colour laser printer.
  • Desk or task chair is a great investment. You can find a desk chair in all price ranges but I have found you get what you pay for when it comes to chairs. Consider how long the teen will sitting in the chair each day to help to guide your investment. My son has the Staples Hyken Technical Mesh Task Chair and loves it.
  • Headphones and Earphones come in all sorts of styles and colours and options. I find the kids tend to lose and break the earphones and my favourite based on price and feedback from the kids are the Sony EX Earbud Earphones at $29.99 they offer the best bang for our buck. Headphones can be very expensive and kids seem to want the name brands. I love my House of Marley Headphones which cost $70 but I redeemed some Aeroplan miles for mine.
  • Bluetooth Speakers are another favourite with the teens I know. These are available in a variety of sizes and price points. My son has the Monster Micro Clarity ($100) and he is very happy with it. 
  • Fitness Trackers like FitBit, Jawbone Up , Samsung Canada Gear and Nike Fuel are a few of the popular these days. The start at about $60 for the cheapest Fitbit and go up from there. My son likes his Jawbone Up and Hubby is happy with (my!) FitBit One. 
  • Ereaders such as the Kobo or Kindle are great to lighten the knapsack load, and for the avid teen reader. They are light weight, have good battery life and there are literally thousands of books available for an ereader. They start around $70 and go up from there. Again a good case and gift cards appropriate to the make of ereader are great gifts as well. 
  • Movies & Shows via Netflix Canada is $7.99 a month and perfect to use with a tablet, cell phone or TV. You can use the fancy XBox One and Play Station 4 to stream Netflix, or you can get a Roku starting at $60. I have the Roku 3 and I love that the kids can plug their headphones in to the remote and I don't have to listen to the show they are watching.  
  • Soda Stream ($90+) and Keurig ($70+) are both popular with those at University or Collage. Don't forget to top them up with supplies at Christmas. I am a big fan of Single Jo Coffee K-cup compatible and 35% less packaging. You can order it on-line and have it shipped directly to your favourite teen at Collage or University. They will need it for those all-nighters of studying.
Well that is my teen tech gift idea share. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about teens, tech, gifts and my Awesome Auntie status.

Note: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers.


  1. Great list, and you would have awesome auntie status for sure with any of those gifts

  2. Thia is a gewat list, Cathy! Want to have some of these itwms for myself!