If you’re like me, the coolest back-to-school technology that you were ever able to brag about was a Crayola box with a built-in sharpener for first grade, parachute pants in late elementary school and a jam box in middle school. Phew! Times were tough back then. Well, at least we weren’t walking five miles up hill in snow to and from school each day like our grandparents (I guess they didn’t have good cartography back then either… but I digress).
It’s time to start thinking about all the moans and groans of back-to-school. Or, as we parents like to call it: PARTY!!!
Oh, I mean, the melancholic parental transition of letting go of one stage of development and launching our children into a bright and… Nope.
Seriously, though. My daughter’s car has more tech in it than my entire house, and my son’s phone is chock full of more apps and wizardry than any modern day Harry Potter would ever be able to decipher.
Even so, as we set off on the new adventures of 2016-17, it’s important to cover the basics and possibly snicker a little, knowing that when their kids are starting to school, these items will have faded into the dark ages of pop culture.
I mean, aren’t you glad that all those pictures of parachute pants don’t live in perpetuity on the internet like our kids’ stuff will? [Insert evil laugh here.]
Now, where was I? Oh, yes: back-to-school tech.
LET’S STATE THE OBVIOUS. Most of our kids will not want to be safe with their tech. Shocking, I know. We have to continue to toe the line on that front.
Keep phones protected with passwords.
Don’t share devices among friends.
Have check-ins on how their tech is being used. The list of common sense parenting with our kids’ devices grows and grows. As it does, so does the opportunity for us to inculcate good habits into their routines.
WHAT ABOUT PRACTICAL THINGS THAT
YOU NEED FOR THE YEAR? Well, it’s a bit hard to say, because each school is likely a little different in how they are doing things, but the assumption is that the vast majority of work is being completed in the cloud. This means that you should never back anything up and always trust that no work will ever be lost. Full stop. Reverse. Flinch. Eye-twitch.
We all trust our cloud-based services a bit more than we should. I’m the world’s worst, and I write about this stuff! Hardware storage is so incredibly accessible and affordable these days.
Continue to invest in backup solutions that give you a fighting chance when the internet decides to eat your homework (oops, did I say “your” homework…I meant to say the project that your child worked on meticulously and independently for weeks on end without any help, editing or revision on your part).
OTHER PRACTICAL THINGS: Devices are expensive. Make sure they are protected with cases that aren’t just fashionable, but also reliable. Make sure devices are locked away when they are out of sight and consider investing in a laptop lock if your devices are in a vulnerable space on a regular basis.
Finally, like your depleted energy at the end of the summer, your child’s devices will need an ongoing dose of recharging.
Invest in quality portable batteries.
There are so many excellent solutions to choose from. Without bogging you down in too much nerdy geekiness, you’ll want to have portable battery chargers that have enough juice to get the job done. Go for as much “capacity” as you can comfortably tote. About 3,000mAh will fully charge most phones at least once. Tablets and ultra portable laptops will need a lot more oomph than that, so go big or go home (to get your charger).
There you have it. It’s time to head back to school, and it’s time to do it with all your tech protocols up to date and ready to roll. Wouldn’t it be nice if you just had to make sure that your Levis and Jordans were the only things that needed to be up to date? Sigh. Those were the days!
Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.