Back to school: Get digital-ready for the Autumn term
New uniform bought? Check. Reassured your child about first day nerves? Check. Had a chat about how they use their tablet or smartphone safely? Hmmmm... You’ve probably been planning to do it, but it’s hard to find the time.
Help is at hand! First of all, take a few minutes to go through our infographic that explains the various parental controls available to parents, such as Sky Broadband Shield, Vodafone Guardian and YouTube Safety Mode.
Then, follow the five-step checklist below so that you feel more confident about your child’s use of tech as the new term begins.
1. Suggest some digital content they might find useful or fun
Tablets and smartphones open up a world of possibilities for children of all ages so why not sit down together and choose a few apps, games and websites that will both entertain and educate – like the Elmo Loves 123s app for younger kids or Evernote to help teenagers organise and plan their schoolwork.
2. Make the most of safety tools
A broad range of parental controls and other tools are available to help you manage your child’s digital world. Ahead of the new school term, we’ve put together a comprehensive advice pack about parental controls so that you can decide what is most appropriate for your child when they are at home, at friends or relatives, at school or out and about.
3. Have a chat about what’s OK and what’s not OK
As children get older, it’s worth discussing things like how to behave on social networks, what kind of photos and videos it’s OK to share and how to deal with nasty comments online. Teenagers in particular need to consider their digital reputation as colleges, universities and employers often do online checks. Take a look at our Managing Reputation article for more information.
4. Set some ground rules
Help your child to balance their screen time with homework, after-school activities and hobbies by setting time limits (the Vodafone Guardian app can help with this if they have an Android device). For older children who might have their own phone or tablet, explain how valuable these devices are and encourage them to look after them like they would their purse or wallet.
5. Talk to your child’s teacher
Find out how your child will use technology at school. Will they have access to tablets? Might they be asked to take part in a school blog or video? Does the school use a Virtual Learning Environment or social networks for collaborative learning? You might also want to find out about the school's e-safety policy. The UK Safer Internet Centre's advice for teachers will give you a bit of background on what is expected of schools.