Linda’s article on Back to School Shopping with Internet Safety in Mind

ANITHA on September 02, 2009

Linda Criddle from ilookbothways.com has written an article on how to choose devices for school kids keeping internet safety in mind. To read the full article, go to http://bit.ly/sVqwF

Here is an excerpt.

Laptops:

  1. Don’t skimp on security and safety software. Install all the safety tools your child needs, such as antivirus, anti-spyware, a firewall, and age appropriate filtering tools. Remember that installing these tools is not enough – you must update security and safety software regularly to protect against new threats. Select auto-update settings to ensure the highest level of protection. Technology Tools
  2. Leverage the safety settings within the services. Every service should have settings that allow you to limit exposure to others or to types of content. Browsing and searching
  3. Protect your student’s laptop from theft. Laptop theft comes in two forms – theft of the information on the laptop, and theft of the laptop itself.
    1. To protect against information theft help your child establish a strong login password and teach him or her to log-off (password protect) the laptop whenever the laptop is left on its own.
    2. Laptops are easy to steal if left unattended for even a moment. Consider buying a laptop cable lock, so your child can physically lock it to something such as a desk. These locks typically cost between $15 and $35 dollars – far less than a replacement laptop.
  4. Review the laptop’s features for safety. Of all laptop features, webcams are particularly problematic. Children often show poor judgment about the live video images they share. If the laptop you purchase has a webcam, set specific guidelines about how and when it can be used. Using webcams

Cell Phones:

  1. Most cell phones today are small computers. In the same way you evaluate the online services and features your child can access on computers, you need to understand the phone’s features and the Internet services can their phone can access. Using mobile phones
  2. Ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect your child. Does the phone have content filters? Can features be turned off?Using mobile phones What additional safeguards does the carrier provide? (Don’t be shy about asking and demanding answers).
  3. Choose between a prepaid versus a monthly plan. Many parents like the financial accountability that a prepaid plan provides for their teens, however these plans usually don’t provide you with information about your teen’s calling activity like monthly plans do.
  4. Understand how to track phone usage problems.
    1. If your student is overly tired in the mornings or is sneaking out at night, check the times of day that calls and text messages are occurring (monthly cell phone bills provide this information). If there is a problem, solve it by taking charge of the phone at bedtime and returning it in the morning.
    2. Check for inappropriate use during school hours: when texting and cheating can be issues. Address these directly by establishing clear consequences.