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Making the e-transition back-to-school safely

digital citizens screen balance Jan 15, 2018

As the new school year approaches, parents and caregivers in countries everywhere are gathering school supplies, going through clothes to see what fits and what can last another few months, making appointments for haircuts, getting ready to purchase sturdy shoes and doing all the other things that will make the transition back-to-school go smoothly.

I thought I would chime in with my tips and resources for parents to make the e-transition back-to-school go smoothly too!  What do I mean by “e-transition?” Okay, so I just coined the phrase, but I am talking about the transition from online summer fun with any electronic and/or digital goodies to the online educational use of those same technologies and devices.

So as you make those organizational lists for back-to-school, add this term to your notepad: eTransition. (Please note: these resources are of course available to support you during the school year as well; the goal is to providing understanding on any cyber safety related issues. )

Set your time limits on screen times.  We all had a fun and sometimes lazy summer filled with, a bit too many cartoons, a bit too many episodes on YouTube, too many games on an iPad, and so forth.  Now that school is in session, it is time to remember the proper place for technology.  Education and technology is good, boredom and technology is not so hot.

Stay involved in your child’s life.  A new school year may mean new friends, new activities. What are your children doing online and off?  Use The Parent Zone's WWW approach as a guide when communicating with your children. Who are they talking to? What are they doing online? Where are they going online?

Do YOUR homework on what types of resources are available for parents and caregivers. Here are a few to get you started: INSAFE, FOSI, SafeKids, Connect Safely, Netsmartz, Common Sense Media or Pew Research Internet Project.

Know who to contact in an emergency.  Just as your know the emergency numbers to call for a fire or medical emergency, know your country’s emergency Helpline phone number to respond to concerns harmful and/inappropriate content online or Hotline phone number to report illegal content.

If your school has a Bring Your Own Device program, make sure that you understand what types of devices are allowed.  Contact your school to ensure that the proper eSafety policies have been put in place.

Attend a Digital Parenting session, where you can ask questions, speak with other concerned parents and hear expert opinion on the current state of affairs for online safety.  You can find parenting sessions with Orange, The Parent Zone, Digital Parenting Coach, e-enfance and many others.  Attend a session, and get empowered.

And as I always say: continue parenting your child in the online world as you do in the offline world – by using your own good common sense and experience. Be supportive, set boundaries, and offer opportunities to explore and develop.  You've got this!

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