Four Tips for Back to School Device Shopping

Whether used for word processing, email or online research, devices such as tablets, laptops and e-readers are becoming a standard aspect of our children’s education. As back to school season begin...
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Four Tips for Back to School Device Shopping

by NewsEditor_ on August 31st, 2015 in Industry and Security News.

Whether used for word processing, email or online research, devices such as tablets, laptops and e-readers are becoming a standard aspect of our children’s education. As back to school season begins, it may be time to purchase a new digital device for your child as part of their back to school supplies. In addition to figuring out what the primary use of the device will be (homework, web surfing, email, etc.) and speaking to your child about their preferences, there are a number of additional factors that should be considered when purchasing a new digital device for your child:

Check with Your Child’s School About Policies and Device Compatibility

Many schools have drafted and published digital device policies. These policies typically describe existing software and hardware specifications used in the classroom and outline the acceptable use policies, including which devices are allowed in the classroom as learning aids. Additionally, the digital device policy is likely to contain information regarding the school’s existing technological infrastructure, allowing parents to ensure that their child’s new mobile device is compatible with the school’s existing hardware and software. Make sure the device adheres to the usage specifications of such a policy. Furthermore, consult with your child’s teachers about how they intend to incorporate devices in the classroom to support the curriculum and learning process. 

Make an Agreement with Your Child to Ensure Socially Responsible Use

Some parents of young children give their kids a new laptop or tablet along with an agreement, contract, or list of rules the child must follow in order to use the device. As an example, please see Janice Burley Hofmann’s letter to her 13-year-old son that she included with his new iPhone. Some of the points she makes in the letter include: “Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person,” as well as “Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public…You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.” This is probably the most important point about introducing a new digital device into your child’s life: communication, mentoring, and monitoring of their behavior. The potential for abuse, both incurred and perpetrated, is increased exponentially when your child is connected to the internet. Here is a list of digital contracts and agreements for kids that may be used as templates. 

Install Antivirus Protection

Children are likely to encounter computer viruses and other threats to privacy and security online. Most devices come preloaded with free trials of antivirus software which require payment after a 30 day trial period. For free virus protection, you can install Ad-Aware Free Antivirus on your child’s new device. Ad-Aware is a top free antivirus program that offers real-time protection against malware, viruses and spyware with fast scanning times and minimal resource use. Additional features include protection from internet-based threats and download protection. Ad-Aware outranks many other antivirus programs in third-party tests. 

Protect Your Child’s New Mobile Device

In addition to purchasing a special laptop bag, screen or device cover, it’s essential for parents of young children to purchase accidental damage insurance. Even the most prudent adults lose or damage their laptops and devices by dropping them, spilling things on them or simply forgetting them while they’re out. Some parents encourage their children to incur the costs of replacement and repairs but it might take a while for their accumulated babysitting or allowance money to cover such a cost. In all likeliness, it will be the parents who incur the cost of replacements or repairs. Purchasing damage insurance for your child’s device is likely to save you money in the new school year. 

Purchasing digital devices has become a standard aspect of back to school shopping. Parents purchasing laptops, tablets and e-readers for their kids have to take additional steps to ensure that the device is compatible with their child’s curriculum and used in a responsible manner. Additionally, their children’s online safety and security needs to be attended to by regularly monitoring their surfing as well as installing and updating antivirus software. Purchasing accidental damage insurance is likely to pay off in the long term, as kids are more likely to break or misplace their devices. The aforementioned tips will help your kids use their new mobile devices safely and responsibly.  

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