Back to school computer tips for kids, parents | NevadaAppeal.com

Back to school computer tips for kids, parents

Keith Barham

A new school year brings many opportunities to learn and grow — for children and parents. Everyday use of a computer, smartphone, tablet or otherwise Internet-connected device brings new challenges to parenting. With the school year underway, there is no better time to review computer safety tips and best practices.

Tip 1: Keep the computer in a public space.

When the computer is kept in a public space, you are easily able to monitor what your child is doing, control their screen time and answer any questions they might have. Microsoft offers easy-to-use parental control tools that allow you to restrict programs and websites, control screen time and monitor your children’s overall activity.

If you have any reservation about using these tools, talk to your children about why you’re doing it and explain the reason behind it, keeping them safe.

Tip 2: Keep personal information and photos private.

While online, your children will likely encounter people they don’t know or websites that ask for personal information. Teach them to never share their full name, addresses, school details and banking information.

Additionally, teach your children discretion when sharing photos. Practice the rule “would you want your grandma to see this?” and advise them to never share photos with someone they don’t know in person.

Parents, this is a good reminder to practice discretion of your own when sharing photos of your children. While their baby and back-to-school photos might be shareable with family and close friends, strangers may gain access to these images and use them for illegal practices. Also, consider your child’s future with new friends, college applications and job searches. Ask yourself if you would want similar photos of yourself online for all to see.

Tip 3: Never share passwords.

With ever-changing and more convincing attempts to gain access to your information or wallet, it is no surprise that children — and many adults — might be unable to distinguish a legitimate and safe request for their password. Children should be advised to ask an adult before inputting their passwords and reminded not to share them with anyone, even their best friends.

An important note for parents. You should always know your child’s password in case they can’t remember it or if you need to access their accounts.

Tip 4: Make sure to clean and tune before school begins.

In a general clean and tune, you or your trusted computer technician will check for updates to your security and operating systems, perform a virus and malware checks — removing them if possible — and cleaning out your physical device.

It is important to have a clean-and-tune done before school starts to ensure your computer is running safely and effectively.

Tip 5: Upgrade memory and storage.

As your children progress in their studies, they might have schoolwork that is image, video and audio intensive. If their computer is unable to run programs with high processing requirements, it might be time to upgrade to a higher memory or storage capability.

Bonus Tip: College students should have their computers upgraded to Windows 10 as soon as possible.

Microsoft is pulling all support for Windows 7 in January 2020, leaving those devices vulnerable to security risks. If your college students are still using a Windows 7 operating system, consider having their computers updated before they leave for school. Additionally, most new devices will come with Windows 10 pre-installed.

This digital world is a helpful tool and a potentially dangerous place, but your children can learn how to safely navigate it with a little help.

DeBug Computer has been serving the community for nearly 20 years. With two locations in Carson City and Minden, DeBug provides IT support and consulting services to home users, and dental, medical and business offices.