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Navigating School-Provided Technology at Home

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 11:14 AM

Today's classrooms are full of technology that provides essential resources for students. If your kids are lucky, they might even attend schools that designate funds for procuring laptops or tablets to give to the students. This means your children will have their tech tools to use at home. Here are tips on navigating the use of these technologies outside of the class:

Set rules

While a school-provided tablet can be an excellent means for your kids to research for projects or work on homework, it can also come with distractions. Create rules right away when your children receive tablets or computers. Set boundaries of what sites are OK and help the kids understand what websites are credible so they can use them for educational purposes. You may also want to discuss times when it is appropriate to use the devices. For example, a computer curfew of 9 p.m. would mean no use of the laptop after 9. Consider having your kids shut off all electronics an hour before bedtime to ensure their eyes and brains readjust and they can fall right asleep.

Protect your kids

When you have an expensive technology, you are at risk. Children carrying a laptop to school in plain sight might be mugged. Talk about safe ways to handle and transport the new device, like placing it in a case and then inside a backpack so no one knows it is there. Add the device to your homeowners or renters insurance policy as well so you can receive funds for any damages or theft.

You also need to protect your children online. You can do so by setting parental controls on your at-home Internet. Consider talking with your kids' teachers or school computer lab monitor to learn about any websites they will frequently require for schoolwork. Then, ensure these sites are allowed through any Internet blocks you have set up.

Promote other activities

When you get home from a long day at the office in front of a computer, you likely want to spend time away from the screen. Kids also partake in a lot of device time at school, and they continue to use technology to do their homework. It is crucial for their imagination, critical thinking skills and overall brain development that children spend time away from computers too. Encourage your kids to have fun outside being physically active by playing catch or running around. It is important to achieve a balance between on- and off-screen time.

Keep tech central

It is easier to keep an eye on your kids when using technology if they can only do so in central areas of your home. Create a device zone where your kids' new tablets or laptops live. The kitchen, living room or perhaps a home office are great options. This way you can go about your normal activities while still monitoring their online presence and offering homework help when needed.