4 Tips for Protecting Take-Home Devices

Schools are becoming increasingly reliant on technology to teach students. With so much reliance on technology, many teachers have begun using take-home devices as a way to increase student engagement and provide additional learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

With more schools investing in these programs, it’s important for parents and guardians to know how to keep their children safe online when they use their school-provided device at home. In this blog post we will discuss 4 tips for protecting your child’s data from being accessed by strangers or going viral among classmates without permission:

Use Parental Control & Monitoring Software

The first thing you can do to protect your child’s data on their school-provided device is use parental control and monitoring software.  Some examples of these types of programs are Norton Family Premier, MIMICS, Kaspersky Safe Kids, Chipsec, Net Nanny Parental Control, CyberPatrol Parental Controls and Bsecure Online for Kids (BBOSK).

These programs allow parents to set online time limits, block or filter dangerous websites and apps/games or even view the search history they’ve performed. This last feature is especially important because research shows that teens are three times more likely than adults to say they’ve shared inappropriate photos with people they met online.

This means it’s important to have the ability to monitor what your child is sharing on their school-issued device. If you’re not sure which parental control program would work best for your family, we recommend trying out a couple of different programs and then seeing which one works best for you.

Practice “Safe Surfing”

Another option for protecting your child’s data while they’re using their school-provided device at home is practicing safe surfing habits together before they even get near it.

One way parents can do this is by turning off the browser history feature in their internet browser, so that websites kids visit won’t show up on any lists.

This helps keep strangers from knowing where your child goes online when they aren’t around, which is especially important for younger children who are more vulnerable to online predators.

Keep Your Child’s Data Private

No matter how you’re protecting your child’s data, it’s important to remember that the best thing you can do is help them keep their activity private.

It’s easy for people to guess usernames or passwords if they know their ABCs or 123s so encourage them to come up with something harder.

The same goes for emails and phone numbers because while many of us recycle the same info on all our accounts, kids shouldn’t be making it any easier for strangers to reach out to them online.  

Another way parents can encourage their children to protect their accounts better is by using privacy settings that are available on many social media sites.

Talk to Your Child About Cyber Safety

Finally, not all schools issue take-home devices but due to technology becoming such a big part of society it’s important for parents and guardians to talk to their kids about online safety because many schools are incorporating these lessons into their curriculum.

Here we’ve listed some suggestions, based on our real-time data, that should help you get the conversation started:

  • Remind your child that anything they post online can be saved and shared by others and that if they wouldn’t want someone sharing it with their entire town, school or even worse – the world – then don’t do it themselves. This might seem like common sense, but many kids who get in trouble online say they didn’t realize that things they shared were visible to everyone and would be forwarded all over the place.
  • Encourage your child to set up an email address so you can communicate with them privately and remind them not to use it for any other account. It’s important to stress that even though we save email addresses on our phones, computers and tablets , strangers might also have access if your child doesn’t protect it like passwords or usernames because this info can be breached by hackers or employees of companies such as Google or Yahoo .
  • Remind kids that what they share should only go to people they know in real life. This means their information could never end up in someone else’s hands through a link, photo or status update. Kids should also know that despite how many “friends” they have online, the only people who should ever get to see their information are people in their inner circle.
  • Remind them to avoid accepting friend requests from strangers and never share info with someone they don’t know because it could end up backfiring someday.
  • Encourage other kids not to post photos of themselves if they wouldn’t want everyone in school or even the world seeing it. If a photo is posted, remind your child never to send any more photos via text message or social media because once a picture goes out there’s no way of taking it back.
  • Remind them that sending something intimate doesn’t mean anyone has permission to share it with anyone else.

Other important topics to address while teaching your kids about online safety are how to tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information, that strangers can sometimes pretend to be people they are not, that bullying online is never okay, what appropriate behavior looks like when using different social media sites and more.

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