Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Aug. 14, 2014

Back to School Tech for Success

Staff, The Family Online Safety Institute

Summer is sadly coming to a close. It is time to gear up for a new school year. Your kids will need new shoes, clothes, backpacks and...tech skills. Part of setting your kids up for success includes guiding them to be good digital citizens. 

More and more schools across the nation are incorporating technology as a way to connect with kids and spark their interest in learning. Digital literacy is therefore a skill that our kids will need to achieve academically. It involves not just knowing how to use connected devices, but how to determine reliable sources from questionable content, how to communicate appropriately, knowing what is okay to share and what should be kept private, and understanding when it is time to turn the screen off. 

Use our Tech for Success guide to start a conversation with your child about using technology responsibly. 

Search Online Safely and Effectively

It is important that your child knows how to research information online. They need to determine good sources for research and learn to be critical thinkers when some information they find seems questionable. They need to know how to be safe when searching online, and to never give away passwords or other private information when clicking on new links. Talk to your kids about these important learning skills. 

Unplug and Balance Screen Time

In our increasingly connected world, it is also important to recognize when it is time to unplug and decompress. Everyone can use a break from the screens and it is important for you to help your kids place value on slowing down and appreciating the world in front of them, not just what’s on the screens. 

Check Your Privacy Settings 

Back to school is a good time to re-visit your privacy settings and confirm that they are all up to date and secure. Apps, websites, and devices are constantly working to improve their privacy offerings, so be sure your kids are taking advantage of the latest online security measures. Remind them to use strong passwords and change them often.

Create a Positive Online Reputation

Creating a positive online reputation is increasingly important. Potential employers, educators, school administrators, and community members can all see what your kids are sharing online. So talk to your kids about portraying themselves in the best light (and no, I don’t just mean selfies) as well-rounded, positive and productive citizens. 

Evaluate Your Digital Footprint 

Take a look at your child’s digital reputation. What kind of information is your child posting? Does what you find online represent the person you know or do you need to encourage them to be more careful about the impression they are leaving online? Remind them to share some of their accomplishments, in school, on the field, at a job or in the community. 

Stay Safe, Don’t Text and Drive 

Remind your teenage drivers that texting or talking on the phone while driving is extremely dangerous and that you expect them to be safe while on the road. Encourage them to take the It Can Wait pledge. No text or call is worth putting themselves or others in harm's way. 

Stand Up to Cyberbullying 

Finally, talk to your child about cyberbullying. Encourage them to be an upstander and to report any cyberbullying they see to you, a school counselor, or a trusted adult. For more tips on how to combat cyberbullies, visit OnguardOnline.gov

Make sure your kids are reaping the rewards of the all that our digital world can provide. Connect with your kids and get the school year off to a great start!