Family Technology FAQs
Below are some questions frequently presented to me as district technology coordinator. You may have some of the same questions. If you do not see your question listed, submit your inquiry with the button below:
Q: How safe is my child while using technology at school?
A: Federal laws are in place to protect minors while they use technology and specifically the internet at school. Our school complies with these laws through the use of web content filtering and firewalls, email monitoring, and traceable, managed user accounts. Privacy and safety of our students is of the utmost importance to us, and we are taking every measure to ensure that our students are practicing safety in their online activities. Students and parents are also encouraged to read, understand, and review the district's Acceptable Use Policy, which is signed by parent(s)/guardian(s) at the beginning of each student's enrollment, and available upon request.
Q: Does my internet at home have any safeguards like the schools do?
A: No. Personal home or residential networks do not automatically come with these safeguards from your Internet Service Provider. It's critical for parents/guardians to understand exactly what that their child(ren) can access at home. Typically, when at home, users have wide open, unrestricted access to the internet.
Additional safeguards can be applied to home networks, but some technical knowledge is necessary, and each home setup is different. Ask your internet service provider about this if you have questions, utilize devices' parental controls, and always closely monitor your students' online activities.
Q: I want to get a computer for my child(ren) to use for school work and for recreation, and I don't want to spend too much money. What should I look for?
A: Our district uses G Suite, which is Google's suite of productivity and content management tools created specifically for educational environments. This suite is used in K-12 schools, and universities like WIU. Keeping that in mind, Google makes very affordable "netbook" style laptops called Chromebooks. These are not only affordable, but are simple to operate, and they offer all of the tools our students need to use in B-PC schools. Chromebooks require no antivirus software/subscriptions, but they do require an internet connection to work. And best of all, they are incredibly share-able. If you have more than one child, or you want to use the device as well, each user's information and data all automatically loads upon login.
PCs (Windows) or Mac (Apple) brands are also perfectly fine, but can be significantly more expensive and often more complex to manage. They can handle more complex jobs and third-party software. For some unique situations, these might be preferred, but for most students, Chromebooks will work great. Learn more here.
Q: How much screen time should my child have every day?
A: Screen time for children is a controversial subject. Some questions you might ask yourself are, what kind of media is my child viewing, how old is my child, and is the child supervised or accompanied during media use? A good rule of thumb is that the younger the child, the less screen time they truly benefit from.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests prohibiting all media/screen time until a child is 2 years old. After that, parents/guardians should consider that benefits of screen time increase when children share that screen time with an adult, engaging in dialogue, and discussing what's being used/played/viewed. Unaccompanied screen time is typically less beneficial, less engaging, and could be more limited. Each child and family is different, and ultimately the decision is a very personal one.