Suggestions for parents in the realm of technology as the new school year begins

You’re getting ready to send your kids back to school in blazers that are two sizes too big because the summer break is almost over. But even if their uniforms are prepared, how certain are you that their technology is secure?

Many children’s first experiences with mobile phones and computers coincide with the start of the school year, bringing with them a slew of new apps for keeping track of schoolwork and illness.

Here’s how to make sure that your gadgets are in tip-top form for the start of the new school year. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have one less thing to fret over as you prepare their school supplies for the first day of class.

Is there a way to monitor your kid’s phone?

When children enter secondary school and begin making the commute on their own, many parents present them with their first phone. Tracking the position of an iPhone or Android phone can be done invisibly, so you can see if your kid made it to school okay, or if they’re still there since they forgot to notify you about the after-school sports club.

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The Find My app on any Mac, iPhone, or iPad may be used to keep tabs on the whereabouts of other Apple devices in the home. The Android platform includes the Find My Device function. Here you’ll find detailed guidance on how to implement location tracking on both iOS and Android.

You should explain to your kids why you’re doing this to keep them safe, and it could even be a prerequisite for getting them a phone. If you can convince them that it could assist them track down a misplaced gadget, you might win the day.

Please put your phone on silent while in class.

Mobile phone use during school hours is generally accepted and even encouraged at secondary institutions. Cell phone use is prohibited during class time. Detentions are common during the first week of school, so it’s important to teach students how to put their phones on silent.

Do Not Disturb is an excellent tool for this purpose, and it can be found in the preferences of both iOS and Android smartphones. Scheduled activation of Do Not Disturb prevents the phone from ringing or displaying notification alerts at predetermined times, such as between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

A child can spare themselves the agony of having their phone taken or worse if they remember to turn off the ringer before entering the classroom. And that doesn’t prevent them from utilizing it even on breaks.

Keep an eye out for that WhatsApp group.

It is the nature of the modern jungle for there to be new schools, new friends, and new WhatsApp groups. However, parents should exercise caution before allowing your kids to join yearlong WhatsApp groups or large classes. First, the sheer number of messages sent and received in these groups can be exhausting, requiring your child’s continual attention. In addition to being a potential source of stress, they are frequently the target of bullying and “pile-ons.”

It’s a fine line to walk here. You don’t want them to be the only kid in class who isn’t participating, but you also don’t want to invite trouble. Talk to your kid about it and see if you can come to an agreement on waiting it out or limiting group chats to close friends only, where bullying is less likely to occur.
Better yet, don’t give it to them until they’re at least 13 years old. After all, that’s what the stipulation about minimum ages says. Discord and other chat-based alternatives offer finer-grained permission limits, but they also prioritize risky group voice conversations. However, most young people just want to hang out with their pals, which is why Whatsapp has become so widespread: it works equally well on both iOS and Android devices.

Preventing Children from Accessing Unsafe Content Online

Doing your own research is essential before purchasing a new laptop for the kids to use for schoolwork. In particular, when it comes to initializing the PC.
You should never give a child access to the main ‘admin’ account on a computer, or even if they are merely using it. This grants them administrative privileges, allowing them to install programs, alter security settings, and even disable parental controls (if they have access to the system). Instead, create a child account for them. You’ll have a lot more say over what kids can and can’t do on the device, but viruses and other malware will have a tougher time wreaking havoc.
Read The Standard’s free advice on how to create a child account on a Windows or Mac computer.

Avoiding disciplinary action by using school-issued applications

Apps that help parents keep track of their children’s schoolwork, illness, and other matters are bound to proliferate as the new school year approaches. Schools tend to rotate these applications with irritating regularity, frequently because the promotional first-year offers they’re offered become prohibitive in year two.

These apps save sensitive information about your children, but their security, even during initial setup, is typically inadequate. The school may either not require you to change the default password or send it to you in the same email as the username (both of which are horrible security practices). If someone gains access to your email account, they may also have access to highly personal information about your child.
Use a robust password when registering with such apps for the first time; the app may not need you to do so. You can alter the password in the app’s settings.

How to get reservations before other parents.

This one comes out as a little “competitive parent,” but it’s actually rather practical. Many after-school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, require registration on websites that are only available during certain hours. If you’re even five minutes late, you’ll miss out on the best parts of the event.
Set a reminder in your calendar app ten minutes before the scheduled opening time of a booking website so that you’re ready to go as soon as it goes live. Then, install the Easy Auto Refresh add-on for Chrome or Edge.

To have the page automatically refresh every few seconds, all you have to do is click the extension’s icon in the browser’s toolbar. If you keep an eye on the screen, you can be among the first to use the booking portal and secure a spot in the karate club or one of those coveted appointments on parents’ evening. You may scoff at this now, but you’ll appreciate it later.

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