Like so many of us, I routinely stop by the CompUSA or Best Buy to play with the electronic toys, drool on the latest technologies, check out the latest games, and generally hang out. I may even buy something once in a while.

My pilgrimage last weekend got me to thinking. While perusing the notebook/laptop isle at Best Buy I found myself surrounded by dozens of teenagers and their parents. I was there to gloat about my borrowed Alienware to the goobers at Best Buy, but they were too busy dealing with combination teen and parent angst. These potential buyers were there roaming around taping on keyboards and smudging LCD screens while comparing prices versus power versus what was too cool for school.

Some of these students were on their way to college, but many looked like they were on their way to high school. I grew up in a time where computers were only used by middle-aged men wearing white shirts, black ties and pocket protectors so the concept of a notebook computer for school is somewhat foreign to me. Nonetheless, I understand that a notebook can be a valuable tool, especially if your son or daughter is heading off to the college campus. I mean you need a notebook to download music and movies off peer-to-peer networks.

But I was wondering about the high school students. Is a computer for the exclusive use of a high school student a given these days? I understand that a high school student would need access to the family computer, but I am uncertain there is a need for each teenager to have their very own notebook.

Since I don’t have children that age, perhaps I am just uninformed. Perhaps some parents out there could clue me in? Is a notebook part of your children’s high school regimen? At what age is it appropriate for a child to have a personal notebook?