As technology in schools goes beyond laptops and tablets to include wearables, makerspaces, 3D printers, and more, parents find themselves inundated and behind the digital device learning curve. But there are now tools specifically designed to help manage the digital lives of your children, while protecting them from harm – even from cyberbullying and self-harm.
Education technology (EdTech) is an important part of school curriculum and provides students invaluable benefits such as collaboration via digital devices, and speaking up if they see something cruel, hateful, or unjust. But the need to be “always on” comes with inherent risks like distractions, access to harmful content, hackers, bullying, and more.
Even kids who quickly adapt to new apps and devices need the direction of parents on safe and productive usage. “The good news is that keeping up with the digital pace of kids is as easy as starting a conversation,” says Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a middle school teacher from San Gabriel, CA who creates tech webinars for parents.
Check-in with your school
- What will the school device be used for?
- How much time should my kid be spending on the device for homework?
- What apps are my kid using, and why?
- Can my kid download anything on the device?
- How can parents support and reinforce lessons taught in the classroom with their children at home?
Run a search on “What do schools do to keep digital devices safe?” and you won’t find much beyond limiting device access or lackluster safety guidelines on digital technology. Though your child’s school may take precautions to protect the digital hardware issued to students such as insurance policies, device tracking, and modest content filters, safeguarding students is paramount. And, that task falls primarily on parents.
Active mediation is the soundest strategy parents can use to help children interpret and critically think about media.
Through digital device “oversight,” using a product like SecurlyHome offers communication with teachers using a classroom device like TPL “google chrome.” SecurlyHome makes digital parenting easier by also connecting you to your family’s devices so you can stay informed, monitor their online activity, and rest easy.
How to feel “in control” with school devices at home
Research data indicates an alarming dependency on tablet technology use among kids. A recent study found that many children employ a variety of methods to evade parental limits on their tablet usage. Furthermore, “The conclusions suggest that covert and unregulated use of tablet technology may have a detrimental impact upon children, particularly in relation to reduced social interaction, fatigue and increased family tensions due to excessive usage”.
Even if you believe that you’ve imparted responsible online behavior in your child and have adequately protected them from potential harm, it’s nearly impossible to manage what they do if you’re not standing over their shoulder. Although school and home devices already include many protection features, you need to download and activate many others. This is labor-intensive with no assurances that you are sufficiently protecting children. Also, none of the available technology includes AI and 24/7 live monitoring to ensure your kids are safe.
For peace of mind, consider the easy implementation of Hub by Securly to create a personalized Wi-Fi network specific to your child’s age and interests. You can allow or block sites, view online activity, and stay aware of risky behavior. The Hub provides extensive protection from digital threats. With Securly, you can confidently leverage one provider to address all your student device concerns. It is the only platform set up to solve schools and parents increasing stress points.
Ensure a safe digital learning experience for your child
- Send teachers an email to ask how they use and secure technology in their classrooms. “Some teachers maintain class websites and blogs about what the students learned in school that day. It’s a wonderful bonus from technology,” says Betsy Landers, parent of three and president of the National PTA.
- Download the SecurlyHome app to connect to your child’s school devices at any time – even while at home – to view recent search terms, see which sites have been visited, and get alerts if signs of bullying or self-harm are found.
- Keep device software up-to-date to address security issues, and schedule automatic data backups to a hard drive or cloud-based platform to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware attacks.
- If your child is using a Chromebook, Securly offers an affordable, cloud-based classroom management tool called ChromeTools that allows parents to manage their child’s school-issued Chromebook at home and outside of school hours.
- Ask school administrators if they’re using a cloud-based web filter. Filter by Securly is a comprehensive solution with no hardware required. The web filter maintains an age-appropriate internet, monitors for bullying and helps schools remain CIPA-compliant for a safer web.
- Obtain your child’s school policy and procedures when cyberbullying or self-harm is discovered or reported. Nothing can currently detect childhood distress and online harm like Auditor by Securly, which uses AI and live sentiment and keyword monitoring to alert adults when a student needs help.
- Hadlington, L.J., White, H., Curtis, S. – 2019 “I cannot live without my tablet: Children’s experiences of using tablet technology within the home.” Computers in Human Behavior, 94, pp. 19-24.
- “Parental mediation of screen media is associated with better outcomes for children:” Domoff, S.E., Radesky, J.S., Harrison, K. et al. J Child Fam Stud – 2019, 28: 401.
About the Author:
Jon Patrick Hatcher holds an M.A. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and has spent years studying, utilizing, and sharing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) techniques, which he discreetly conveys in layman style.