Keep your children’s online learning safe with our tips for a secure school year.
Students today live in a digital world. Whether your child is playing games, communicating with friends, or doing homework, they are likely fulfilling these ventures with an internet-connected device.
It is a parent’s job to keep their children safe. You set a curfew or make sure little Johnnie wears his pads on his skateboard, you double-check the seatbelts, and you keep their devices secure — right?
Today it is more important than ever for you and your child to understand online safety, like seatbelts or bicycle safety. Engaging with your children about online safety is the elbow pads and helmet of the connected world. If kids have a device, they need to understand security is part of that activity as well.
When it comes to online safety and online education, many schools provide devices with an entire IT team keeping them safe. But security will be up to you if you provide your child’s device.
Below are basic online security for kids as well as adults:
- Never share your email address with anyone you don’t know.
- Never share your personal or family information online.
- Ignore people contacting you with wild offers or promises such as free money or gifts in exchange for your information.
- Only open email and text messages from someone you know. Only open an attachment or click on a link if you know and trust the sender and understand where the links go.
- Never provide usernames or passwords through an email or text in response to an unsolicited email or text.
- Never engage with strangers online without a parent’s permission.
These steps help to strengthen your family’s security online:
- Keep your security software up to date.
- Keep all computers, mobile devices, and smart devices updated with the latest operating system and firmware updates.
- Stay anonymous: Use your real name for official accounts like banking and school, but use a pseudonym for online games and forums.
- Consider using apps or settings on devices (Android / iOS) that restrict the use of educational tools during learning time.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple sites and accounts, especially email or banking.
- Longer is better. Try a combination of random words or phrases.
- Go a step further than changing the number at the end of an existing password.
- Avoid using nicknames, birthdays, or other information people may know.
Here are more tips for preparing for the new school year.
Preparing for any online learning isn’t just about the device. Your child will need a decent workspace to get that required homework done.
- Provide a chair that positions your child at the desk comfortably. Doing this helps them avoid neck strain and reduces fatigue as they learn. If you can, invest in an adjustable office chair. Throw pillows can be used to position children comfortably.
- When considering your child’s workspace, examine what you already have in your home. A kitchen table or a computer desk will work fine if you can achieve the proper seating height. If space is your concern, a folding or collapsible table can be tucked away when not in use.
- Ensure your kid’s online school setup has proper lighting for studying. LED lights provide good lighting while reducing eye strain. A desk light with an adjustable angle is ideal.
- Create a calm environment where your child can reflect as they learn. If this is a dedicated space, it can be fun for you and your kids to decorate the space so they have a personal connection to it.
- Any virtual learning space should be functional. All your child’s class materials should be accessible in one area.
- A key part of the functionality is a reliable internet connection. Consider a good provider as much as you would a quality school. Poor connection or slow speeds can be more frustrating than calculus.
- If this is a dedicated space, you can connect the device via Ethernet for the most consistent experience. The wire can also work as a tool to keep your child working in the space and not near distractions like TV.