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August 20, 2010 > Online safety questions every parent should ask

Online safety questions every parent should ask

Submitted By Jessica Lafontaine

As the role of technology as teaching aids continues to evolve, do you know how your school uses it in the classroom? What are the policies for Internet use? What about mobile devices? Is your school using a filter, and if so what are the monitoring policies?

With back-to-school time right around the corner, now is the time that parents should ask teachers and administrators about the school's technology policies. But as Internet-enabled devices take on more and more varied forms-pacing the Internet itself-just what questions to ask has itself become a complicated and multi-faceted question.

Here are the top five questions every parent should ask their child's teachers and administrators at the beginning of this school year.

What technology does the school provide for the classroom, and how will the teacher use it?

Internet connected devices today range from your standard desktop computer to SmartBoards and iPads. Ask how the technology will be used in the lesson plan, and if you have questions about the educational value of something-like YouTube-ask why it's being included.

What are the rules regarding mobile devices at school?
Are children allowed to use a mobile device for calculating and research? Is there a punishment for texting in class? Or, are mobile devices not allowed in the classroom at all? Knowing the answers to these questions can help your child steer clear of trouble.

What are the social-networking rules regarding student/teacher interaction?
Many teachers use Facebook and other social networks to connect to students and make themselves available for questions, while others do not allow such connections. Ask your child's teacher what their ground rules are, and make sure any social-networking requirements for your child fall within your comfort level as well.

Does your school have a Cyberbullying policy?
Cyberbullying refers to bullying through electronic means, and is an emerging area of concern for educators and parents alike. Ask about your school's policy for dealing with Cyberbullying, and what is expected from both the parents and student when it comes to dealing with Cyberbullying incidents. Many schools have recently implemented harsher penalties for Cyberbullies, including suspension and even expulsion.

Does your school filter?
Filtering school networks is becoming more common but is not yet ubiquitous. Find out what measures your school has in place to protect your child from harmful online content and contact while they are at school, and what steps are followed if a student tries to access banned material.

Make sure to review your school's rules with your child so he or she clearly knows what kind of online activity can get them in trouble. Establishing your own Internet usage rules at home helps kids carry that same care into web usage at school. For more information about building a game-plan for home and school Internet rules, visit

About has been a leading provider of web filtering solutions for consumers and businesses since 1999. The company supplies the technology for McAfee Family Protection online safety software.

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