Got learning devices? Get 'em ready for back-to-school starting NOW

The start of a new school year is the perfect time to introduce boundaries and reinforce responsibilities around kids’ device use. But don’t wait til summer fun is over to start laying the groundwork. 

Are the school holidays flying by in a sunscreen-scented haze of picnics and playdates? Or does it already feel like the ‘longest shortest time’ -  juggling too much work with too little childcare?

Did you wake up today and think, “Oh no! School is starting in just a couple of weeks?!” … or “Yesss! School is starting in just a couple of weeks!”

There’s one thing that unites all mum and dads at the start of a new school year, and that’s preparation anxiety.

Back in the day, parents only had to worry about uniforms, labels, textbooks and stationery. Today, we can add price-y personal devices to the list - the tablets, laptops or smartphones schools almost universally require.

shutterstock_688093252What will be the guidelines for using those devices at home? How and where will they be charged each day? What other routines and rules need to be established to keep your digital kids balanced, safe and happy online and off? 

Be, be proactive

There’s no time like the present, and the couple of weeks before classes begin - aka right now - is the very best time to get under way.

Don’t wait and see if issues arise, say Family Zone cyber experts. Instead, take a few simple, proactive steps to prevent problems before they have a chance to begin.

  • Hold a family meeting to discuss the rules around device use in the household. What activity is allowed? When and where?  Do aim for a degree of collaboration with your kids. They don’t get to set the rules, but they should be allowed to have input. Doing so will give them a sense of ownership over the decision-making, and encourage more responsible use down the track.
  • Use a written digital contract & planner and get everyone to sign it and schedule device use into their weekly planners.
Register for our FREE New Year, New Tech Problems webinar and receive a FREE Digital resource pack - Including a Digital Contract Template & Planner
  • Establish a family charging station. Decide on a set place in your home where all devices go to charge overnight.  Make sure it is NOT in a bedroom. This rule should not apply for younger kids only. In fact, the risk of all-through-the-night device use is especially high for teens. And p.s., don’t fall into the old "I need my phone for an alarm" trap. Buy them a $10 Kmart alarm instead and keep them cyber safe.  

alarm clock

  • Get tech savvy. One of the biggest challenges Family Zone cyber experts hear from parents is they don't know how to use their children's devices. Maybe you're a Mac user and your child uses a Windows-based school laptop (or vice versa).  There’s an easy solution to that.
    We all know kids love getting a chance to show off what they know … especially if it’s something mum or dad doesn’t. So embrace it!

    Take advantage of their superior knowledge and get them to show you how their device works. Then, set up the safety features and parental controls together. In that way, you’ve made cyber safety into a team effort, not something the grown-ups do to kids. 
  • Know all your children's passwords. It’s essential for you to know all your children’s passwords, both for devices and apps. Record them in a note on your phone, and be sure to include  a rule on their Digital Contract that passwords won’t be changed without informing you. (Periodically, check to make sure.)
  • Use parental controls like Family Zone to help manage screen time and filter inappropriate content. 

New school year, new tech problems? How to safely manage your child's school device. [Select a webinar time]


Register for our FREE New Year, New Tech Issues webinar and we'll walk you through all the benefits of Family Zone's smart, sensible parental controls.


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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, smartphone, phubbing

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