Back to School: Keeping Kids Safe Online at Home and In the Classroom

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with McAfee. However, all opinions expressed are sincere and are my own.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

Both of my kids are using electronic devices at school this year, and my son will also be getting his first cell phone. It was a tough decision, but we believe that the mobile phone is necessary now that he is walking on his own to the bus stop. However, I also worry about the dangers kids, and teens can face when being connected all the time. It’s so important to be informed about how kids are connected not just at home but in the classroom too so that we, as parents, can take the right precautions to protect our children and their devices.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

A recent McAfee survey, Cybersecurity 101: Teens in the Classroom, reveals that 86% of students spend at least one hour per day using an internet-connected device during school hours for school-specific work and 63% of U.S. kids spend three or more hours per day. But are teen and tweens using the devices the way they are supposed to? From cheating to cyberbullying, devices in school are used for much more than learning.

How to keep your kids and their devices safe at home and in school.

1. Stay informed. Knowing what the dangers are is the first step in being able to prevent them. The top dangers kids and teens face online include being targeted by cyberbullying, cyber predators, phishing, and scams or doing things that will put them and their devices at risk like accidentally downloading malware or posting inappropriate things online that will come back and haunt them. When it comes to dangers in school, more than one out of every four (30%) U.S. students have been cyberbullied, and a shocking 51% are experiencing or seeing it before the 9th grade. Once you know what the online dangers are you can take the right measures to protect your kids from them.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

2. Protect all your devices. Be sure to install comprehensive security software, like McAfee Total Protection. Having security software is essential to your family’s devices safe and protect your privacy. We installed McAfee Total Protection and we think it’s one of the best options out there.

Besides protecting your data from malware, it safeguards your devices from theft and data loss. With this premium antivirus, you truly get the identity and privacy protection you need for your PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

3. Talk to your kids. Make sure that your children understand what a great responsibility it is to bring a device to school and how important it is to use internet connected devices appropriately. Start a conversation about responsible device usage. Understanding how to avoid online pitfalls and dangers, respect other kids’ privacy in and outside of school, and appropriate online behavior including tone, manners, and etiquette are good topics. Ask questions about what they are doing online and what apps and social channels they are using. Discuss safe online behavior with your kids like avoiding interacting with individuals they don’t know in real life, not sharing private information or passwords online and enabling privacy settings on social media networks.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

4. Stay up to date with technology and online trends. Find out what your kids are into, what social channels they are on and learn about what they are interested. Are they watching YouTube videos to learn the latest Minecraft hacks? Are they active on Snapchat or Instagram? Make sure that you have accounts on the same social channels they are active on and monitor their activity. The most visited social media websites in the U.S., using school-owned connected devices in the classroom, are YouTube (34%), Facebook or Facebook Messenger (24%) and Instagram (14%).

Keeping Kids Safe Online

5. Team up with your child’s school. Communicate with your child’s school and become involved. Find out how technology is used in the classroom setting. Talk to your child and his teachers about any concerns you have and address them as a team. The good news is that, according to a recent survey, Cybersecurity 101: Teens in the Classroom, schools are taking the time to educate students and protect students and devices from cyber threats – but there are still gaps. A majority of U.S. students (84%) have been provided with cybersecurity education/guidelines. However, don’t assume that school security online is foolproof. When it comes to getting around cyber restrictions put in place by schools, 31% of U.S. students have successfully accessed banned content. And more than half (54%) of U.S. students were able to access any (29%) or some (25%) social media sites on school-owned connected devices.

33 thoughts on “Back to School: Keeping Kids Safe Online at Home and In the Classroom

  1. Last year I was at a friend from my writing groups house with another friend. The homeowner’s daughter came in from school and the first thing she did was hand her phone to her mother – who really went through it – checking the browser, phone and text. The other woman commented on how she could never do that, it is such an invasion of privacy. The mother said, She’s 12 she’s not old enough privacy. They ended up in a debate over the issue. But its a scary world and you really need to do whatever it takes to protect your child.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell the mother everything she was looking for could be erased.

  2. These are excellent tips, especially in a world where people aren’t so trustworthy. My kids are younger still so this isn’t something I have to worry about right now, but definitely too soon!

  3. My daughter is 7, so still too young for devices at school but time is going by quickly and I need to be prepared for this. Before I know it, we’ll be needing to get a cell phone. These are great tips to start with when the time comes.

    Sarah
    http://www.hitcontinue.eu

  4. My kids are still too young to get a mobile phone. But I agree with these. We should talk to them and explain things clearly. Their safety is always the first priority.

  5. Things are so different from when I was younger. There was no such thing as the internet until I was in my late 20’s. Now it seems like EVERYTHING is done through devices and it’s harder to track things. I think as long as one stays diligent and open with their youngster’s things can go very smooth.

  6. Cyberbullying, cyber crimes and all of the bad things related to the internet are increasing. It is true that parent should keep track of their children. Thanks for sharing these tips for us. They are very useful.

  7. Staying up to date with technology and trends tops this list! Many parents have no idea about all of the new social platforms so it’s hard to protect your children if you’re not even aware of the corners of the internet they visit. Internet safety should be a main priority for all parents of children and teens.

  8. Safety is a must. So many things can easily go wrong so you have to be prepared and try to be ahead of things. I try to talk to the kids often and when something pops up on the news or Facebook it tends to open up an extra chance to talk about stuff going on regarding internet and online safety.

  9. This is a great post! My two kids don’t have phones yet because they are picked up from school and activities by my mother in law, but my goddaughter in New York has a cell phone, and I fully support this as she has to go home by herself at 13. Both my kids have laptops, but we monitor them closely, and freely check any correspondence for things we don’t want them to have access to. I wish things weren’t so scary these days, but we’ve got to watch out for weirdos and scammers!

  10. My younger brother is using a mobile phone and my parents are worried about him so much. But after reading this article, I now know how keep him safe online outside. Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

  11. My kids have Ipads and laptops and though we monitor them closely, But after reading this article, I now know how keep them safe online outside. Great Information.

  12. Oh my, this will be such a difficult thing to do in the future. Already now it is super hard but once even more privacy is revealed everyday by all the new tech stuff coming in, cyhber security will be one of the top priorities. These tips are really great!

  13. Before I left the classroom our school went one-to-one with chromebooks. We had to consistently do lessons with the students on the importance of safety! Thanks for sharing such an important topic.

  14. This is a great article, Paula and Cesar! It’s so important to keep our kids safe on the internet. I worry about my nieces, who are tweens, as my sister tells me how challenging it is. My kids are too young at the moment, but I fear for them. Lots of weirdos out there! Thanks for posting!

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