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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cyber Security and the Start of School

With school beginning, now is a good time to remind our children about cyber-security and being good citizens in the digital world they will be sharing.

Many school districts are funding 1:1 devices for every student in their school. This may mean that your child will be bringing home a chrome book, net book or tablet to use which is issued by the school. These devices usually replace the paper-bound textbooks and may or may not have internet access. If they have internet access please take the time to talk with you child about internet security, cyber-bullying, and keeping your (and their) privacy secure.

When in doubt about cyber-bullying or internet safety and security - ask. Ask your child's teacher for a copy of what the school is teaching about internet and digital safety. If they don't know, ask the administration. Schools are subject to the Children's Internet Protection Act CIPA . They have two certification requirements: 1) their Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors; and 2) as required by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, they must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. Ask for how they are meeting these requirements.

Here three great ways to keep the school devices safe while at home:

1) Read the Acceptable Use Policy when it comes home. As a parent you will need to read, sign and return the document stating that you understand the penalties of misuse. Read it carefully and if you don't understand any of the policies, ask the teacher. If you don't feel you got a sufficient answer, ask the administration for clarification (in writing is always good at this level).

2) Explain to your child about using a school issued device. Anything stored, transmitted from, or download that is not allowable (including copyrighted material) may be subject to removal, loss of use, or depending on the severity school discipline.
3) Ask to see and review the device frequently. Remember, this group of students will be among the first to use a digital device from early grades on in their education. If we ask them to share how they are using it, to "teach" us about the technology, we will be learning and looking to see if they are being good digital citizens.

Remember, if you don't know what an "app" is or does; or the terminology of cyber threats, take the time to learn. Technology is doubling every 18 months, so it's okay to ask for help.

For more on digital citizens and cyber-safety visit the following sites: - FBI's website (relaunching in September) for teachers, parents and guardians providing information and reporting tips for cyber threats. - videos, guidelines and resources for the whole family on how to be safe online. - Internet safety for just for teens (includes games, interactive videos, etc.) School district's responsibility in providing educational resources for internet safety.


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