Back to School Safety Tips – Staying Safe Online at Home, at School and Everywhere

back to school tips

A new school year is full of excitement and opportunities for children. New activities and new friendships are forged while a whole new learning adventure begins. Along with the excitement and novelty of a new school year, children with smart phones, tablets and classroom computers can be exposed to threats from online predators and bullies as they are also being exposed to a wide world of information and learning.
Thankfully, there are several precautions a parent can take at the start of a school year to keep children safe while allowing them the freedom to enjoy technology. Taking a few back to school tech safety precautions is every bit as important as buying school supplies and new clothes, meeting teachers and doing all the necessary things to prepare a child for the new school year.

Back to School Technology Safety Tips

Here are some back to school tips to help keep your children safe during the school year:

  1. Monitor your children’s online and social media behavior. According to an article at Education World, you can do this in a number of ways: by talking to your children, monitoring their apps and by setting up internet usage rules. You can also install the MamaBear Family Safety App on your child’s Apple or Android device to monitor your children’s behavior on Facebook and Instagram, including when they make new friends and are tagged in posts, photos or at locations. Be aware when inappropriate language or indication of bullying is posted to their profile with restricted word alerts. Also, teach your child that if you wouldn’t say something in person, you shouldn’t say it on social.
  2. Set up parental restrictions on their mobile devices. iPhones have a great parental restriction settings to monitor age appropriate content, music, apps and gives parents the opportunity to restrict in-app purchasing, adding apps or deleting apps. On iPhones go to settings/general/restrictions to set them up. On Android devices, a recent update to the operating system allows for some device restrictions for parents. Right now Android 4.3/Jelly Bean is available on Nexus devices but manufactures of other device types are anticipating a roll-out of the new operating system. Until then check Google Play for other apps that help with device restrictions.
  3. Control internet use at home. Place your children’s computer in a public area so they can’t isolate themselves when online. Limit the amount of time to use the Internet, or simply disable WiFi at certain times of the day to restrict his/her internet access. Set rules for mobile devices too. For instance, charge phones overnight in a common area, not in their bedrooms at night. Check up on their browser history on their phones for use of unacceptable content.
  4. Be aware of your child’s computer use at school. Ask questions about what their computer use is in the classroom. Create an open dialog that holds your child – and his/her teachers – accountable. Also, know your child’s school’s internet policy. Be aware of how your school district handles internet safety by visiting the school’s website and/or talking to school faculty and administration. If you have concerns about the policy, consider working to improve the Internet safety standards of the school district.
  5. Pay attention to warning signs. Be aware of whether your child is spending an increased amount of time online or on their phones, is isolating themselves, appears withdrawn or is exhibiting troubled behavior. These could be signs that your child’s safety is threatened. Awareness is one of the best ways to keep your children safe with their mobile devices.

Going back to school is one of the most exciting times of the year for parents and their children. Keep that time fun and special by following these back to school internet safety tips, protecting your child so that she can safely embark on the adventure of a new academic year.

The MamaBear app helps parents around the world to worry less about their children. Download the app today for iPhone devices here and Android devices here.

Internet Protocol for Parents: Raising Your Kids in The Digital World

Once upon a time, parents were more concerned with skinned knees and bad grades than worrying that their children’s social security numbers might be commandeered by a middle-aged man named Keith in New Mexico. Oh, how the times have changed. With over two billion people using the Internet now (that’s more than a 500% increase in the last ten years, according to, and more and more of our leisure time being spent online, parenting in the digital era isn’t something to be taken lightly.

The Internet might be a lot like the Wild West right now with identity theft outlaws, but that doesn’t mean your family should be given free rein to do as they please. It’s dangerous out there, and we’re just starting to breach the tip of the consequence-iceberg.

Start With The Basics

According to the Pew Internet Project, only about half of parents take consistent action in monitoring and patrolling their children’s Internet behavior. They may think of it as a trust issue, but it’s more of a safety issue than anything else. You wouldn’t let your child wander around a big city alone after dark. Although the Internet doesn’t pose the same physical threats, it is a giant, scary virtual city that can wreak psychological havoc on their impressionable young minds.

Teaching your kids the basics of Internet usage, and following up on monitoring is essential to their well-being. A good start is to encourage them to use it as a source of inspiration that they can apply to the real world, instead of letting their little brains wither away on social media for hours, then have nothing to show for it. If they love dinosaurs, steer them towards dino-tastic sites they can share on social media; that way, you can help them blend their positive, real-world interests into the digital vortex.

Keep One Eye Open, Keep Suspicious Tabs Closed

The dangers of strangers online are at an all-time high, and the bad news is that they’re probably only going to multiply. According to Lifelock, children are the newest and most preferred targets for identity theft, which makes ID theft education that much more important. To an identity thief, a child has no risk of former bankruptcies or bad credit, and they have almost no reason to ever check their credit score — a thief can go years without getting caught.

When your children are old enough to browse and interact on the Internet, it’s time to talk to them about the importance of cybersecurity and how to best protect themselves. They should never give out personal information to anyone online. If it’s a friend or classmate, they can wait for the information until they see them in person. Teach children how to defend against cyberbullying and the importance of reporting it. If they’re active on forums or comment threads, make sure they only use a screen name or a nickname, and let them know that even a harmless tidbit like your ZIP code and your team’s final score in the soccer match can help bad guys find out who you are and where you live. There’s no reason to be paranoid, but they should always take precautions.


Sharon Manns

Sharon is a concert pianist, barista and single mom for her awesome son, Kyle. She writes about her adventures as a busy mom and how to care for special needs kids.

The article above was from a MamaBear guest blogger. The MamaBear blog is now accepting guest post from reputable bloggers on a variety of subjects. If you are interested in guest blogging for MamaBear simply contact us here.