Back-to-school tech safety tips

From tweens to teens, our kids are increasingly tech-savvy, and that means parents also need to be smart about the latest technology. This is particularly true as we approach the new school year when students may start to test new boundaries as they explore the internet, text with friends, and use social media.
As we prepare to send our children back to school, here are some tips for parents on keeping children safe while they use the latest technology:

• Get tech savvy. Talk to your kids about what websites they’re visiting and what kinds of social media they are using. You should even experiment with the social media sites yourself. This will give you a better feel for evaluating risks and potential abuses. Friend your child or follow them on Twitter.

• Check privacy settings on social media, but emphasize to your child that there is no privacy when it comes to sharing information online. Stress the importance of using good judgment in sending messages and pictures.

• Set rules for texting. Only allow texting at specific times: setting rules for no texting at school while in class, no texting until homework’s done, or no texting after a certain time at night.

• Research tools that your phone carrier offers that could bar unwanted calls or texts and keep usage costs downs. For example, AT&T has Smart Limits that allows parents to block unwanted calls and texts from up to 30 numbers, set monthly limits on texts and mobile purchases, and restrict texting, data usage and outbound calling during specified times of the day.

• Set boundaries. Parents can set clear boundaries on appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology. Make sure these rules and the consequences of breaking them are clear, and monitor use to make sure rules are being followed.

Technology can help students learn and stay connected with friends and family, but it needs to be used wisely. With these simple tips, parents can help support their children’s use of technology safely and responsibly.

Rick Arieta is AT&T’s Rhode Island Retail Sales Manager.  

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