As summer break ends to make way for the return of the school year, parents are scrambling to get their young ones ready. For parents in the digital age, back-to-school prep goes beyond filling out medical forms and buying school supplies. Families need to also get their tech lives in order in anticipation of the new school year.
Here’s our checklist on how to digitally prepare for back to school.
1. Return to an Earlier Sleep Schedule
About a week or two before the first day of school, start getting your kids to bed early. If their summer bedtime is drastically later, do it gradually, e.g. a half hour earlier every few days. Ensure a good night’s sleep for your kids by shutting down their digital devices an hour before bedtime.
2. Decrease Screen Time
Summer break may have meant additional screen time in your household but with school returning, you’ll need to reduce the amount of time your child spends online (excluding homework). Consider a parental control solution like Hub by Securly that allows you to limit screen time by turning off internet access temporarily.
3. Create a Good Homework/Study Environment
Set up a location conducive to studying and no distractions. Ideally you’d want this to be a quiet room such as your child’s bedroom, but if they still need lots of guidance with homework, then a communal location (kitchen, family room) is suitable. Just keep noise as low as possible and remove any digital diversions.
4. Update Your Digital Organizer With the School Calendar
Don’t miss Parent-Teacher Conferences, field trips, or other important school events. Many schools have an online calendar you can download to your smartphone or tablet.
5. Find Out Phone Rules at School
Schools have different rules for phone use on campus, and it’s important that both you and your child are very familiar with them. Remind your child that when in school phones are only for emergencies and important situations, not socialization and entertainment.
6. Set Parental Controls on School Devices
If your child can use a school device at home, you may be able to filter it to suit your family guidelines. If your child attends a Securly-protected school, the free SecurlyHome app [iOS] [Android] allows you to see and manage your child’s online activity.
7. Get to Know the Apps Used at School
With tablets bearing a strong presence in many classrooms, teachers may use certain apps. Get involved in your child’s education by learning what apps they’re using in class. Ask your child’s teacher for a list, or simply take a look at your child’s device if they’re allowed to bring it home.
8. Teach Responsible Digital Use
If your child is using a school device for the first time or has been given their own smart device this year, explain to them the importance of being a responsible digital citizen. Here are some tips on setting digital boundaries for your kids, which include creating a tech contract and guarding their personal information.