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Byline: Dean Takahashi
Aug. 15--About this time every year, a debate ensues in many households about buying back-to-school technology. It's the old generation gap, but with a new twist.
Parents want their kids to focus on what they need for schoolwork. The kids want something that's entertaining and cool.
Parents are more likely to approve the gadgets that can make their kids more productive, including computers, cell phones, handheld computers or graphing calculators.
But teens favor technologies that can be used for entertainment or socializing, with music players such as the iPod at the top of the list.
For the kids, technology isn't just a productivity tool. It's a way of expressing themselves. If they're buying a laptop, they're more likely to care about what it looks like on the outside or if it is beefy enough to run the newest computer games.
"There is a huge generation gap on technology," said Kathleen Gasperini, senior vice president at Label …