Tech Questions to Ask Your School

How Can Parents Monitor School Managed Devices?

When Chromebooks and iPads are managed by a school administrator, it’s easy to assume that your child is covered when these devices come home. However, that’s not always the case, and it’s important to know what the limitations are. Here’s what we discovered in less than 5 minutes when checking my 13-year-old daughter’s school-managed Chromebook. 

If a device is managed by your child’s school, it may limit your options to implement parental controls. In the spirit of a strong home-to-school partnership, here are 5 questions to ask your school’s IT administrator:

1.What monitoring software are you using at school, and does it also work at home?

We recommend asking specifically about website filtering. 

  • Will  your child’s access be blocked if they venture into inappropriate territory?
  • YouTube: will they need it for schoolwork, and if so, is the Restricted Mode active? 
  • Can your school administrator block specific web-sites if they’re problematic for your child?

2. Are you monitoring activity on these school managed devices outside of school?

It’s important to know this, and subsequently, whether students are expected to adhere to school policy at home. If an infraction is discovered, how will your school administrator handle it? 

  • Will the School Administrator speak with your child first? 
  • Will you be notified? 
  • What should you do if you discover activity which makes you question whether the monitoring software is working?

3. Is there any way that I can monitor what my child is doing online?

The likely answer is no, and this is a source of concern for parents. Kids may be holed up in their rooms, but whether they’re writing that history paper or watching YouTube is unclear. Encouraging kids to work in open spaces is a great strategy while kids are young, but as they approach middle school, they’ll likely want more privacy. These computers and iPads are open gateways, introducing a level of distraction far beyond anything we had to deal with as kids.

We agree that teaching kids how to be indistractible is a major parenting priority. Consequently, we can play a major role in fostering its development. Visibility into how your kids are spending their time online can open the conversation about how to manage distractions and deal with procrastination. Here is our recommendation for how to accomplish this on school managed devices

4. Is there any reason my child cannot use a home computer to access school files and sites?

Often schools use Google’s platform, so you can easily access it from any browser or app. Consequently, you may need to help your child re-create bookmarked sites and remind them to add new bookmarks to the home computer (just have them email a link).

5. What should you I do if I hear of online activity that’s negatively impacting my child or others?

This is tricky line to walk. No parent wants to compromise their child’s trust when they’ve confided in you, However, when you have legitimate concerns, it’s helpful to look to school policy for guidance. Many parents find themselves facing some challenging situations with teens, and often the school guidance counselor is a good starting point.

©2021 Heard It From A Friend

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