Back to school looks very different for students and families this year. COVID-19 means kids enrolled in Boise schools are at home and behind a screen.
The internet can be an informative and entertaining tool but without supervision the barrier of safety between students and potential dangers on the internet can be removed. BPD has some tips for parents/guardians to help keep kids safe online and at home.
Have age appropriate conversations about digital use. Establish your household expectations about things like text messages, location information sharing, etc.
You can control and monitor what they access through parental controls and device management programs like Google Play Parental Controls , Apple Screen Time Parental Controls and Commonsense Media. Secure your Wi-Fi connection and don’t share the password. Keep your passwords in a safe place so your child can’t access them. Remind your student not to share their passwords with anyone except you. You should know the passwords for their email, social media and apps. Also, don’t forget to research the apps they want to download beforehand, what do they do, what info is shared with the app developer.
Remind your child to never agree to send their picture or meet up with someone online without asking your permission. Encourage your child to tell you if they encounter anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable. That includes inappropriate interactions with strangers and bullying by peers. Assure them they will not be in trouble, even if the information and/or photos sent to them are inappropriate. If your child receives threatening or offensive material, contact the Internet service provider and local law enforcement agency.
Many parents are having to juggle their work schedule and their student’s education. If your child is going to be home alone it’s important to discuss all aspects of safety, as well as build their children’s self-esteem, confidence and competence.
- Check in with a parent or a trusted neighbor at set times throughout the day.
- Learn how to call 911 and know their address.
- Know how to use the door and window locks, and to lock them when they are at home alone. Use the alarm system if there is one.
- Never let anyone into the home without asking parents for permission, and never let a caller at the door or on the phone know that they are alone.
- Know how to escape in case of fire.
- Never go into an empty house or apartment if things don’t look right — a broken window, ripped screen, or opened door. Instead, go tell a trusted neighbor.
- Let parents know about anything that frightens them or makes them feel uncomfortable. (Remember, parents, to refrain from blaming them for something frightening that happened to them by someone else, even if you feel that they could have avoided it.)
- Never go into anyone else’s home without parental permission.