Any parent will tell you that kids love technology — young children playing games and watching movies on smartphones and tablets, and older teens using mobile devices to stay surgically attached to their social media networks. Modern technology can also cultivate in kids a lifelong love of learning, though. That’s particularly true as summer fades and the excitement of a new school year races into view.
Lucky for tech-crazed kids, as this recent EdTech Magazine article indicates, today’s classrooms are embracing technology with an eagerness that was unimaginable a few years ago. Those smartphones, tablets, and laptops? Yes, they can actually be put to productive use during school hours. That matches up with the growing mobility trend among small and medium-sized businesses, as well. Just like in the business world, though, that integrated accessibility, comes with greater risk: of loss and theft, of security lapses, and, in the case of kids, of inappropriate use.
As parents, we make sure our kids are safe before we send them off to school; as business owners, we make sure our systems are constantly secure and running smoothly. CMIT Solutions understands this need — see our flagship products like CMIT Marathon, CMIT Guardian, and CMIT Anywhere, which all ensure that small and medium-sized businesses can focus on actually running and growing their companies rather than stressing about technology. So shouldn’t we make sure all devices, whether used for personal or business purposes and whether ours or those of are kids’, are equally secure?
Start with the basics. Physical accessories like laptop locks represent a great start, along with strong passwords that everyone understands are NEVER to be given out. Full-throttle wireless capabilities are also a must in today’s on-the-go world, so virus and malware protection is imperative before joining public Wi-Fi networks. Likewise, you don’t want anyone’s important documents to be vulnerable, so ensure that a level of cloud backup similar to that employed by your small business is at the forefront of back-to-school plans.
Check existing policies before buying gadget insurance — and then stock up on accessories. Computer, tablet, and smartphone insurance is always an upsell, whether you purchase your device in person or online. However, you should check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy first — many cover electronics at a much higher level than supplemental coverage, even if a piece of equipment is being used by a child who’s away at college. Instead, splurge on protective sleeves or cases, which can prevent most accidents, and then explore essential accessories. A wireless keyboard and mouse, for instance, can make tablet use exponentially more efficient.
Use technology to set up an integrative organizational system. Popular programs such as Microsoft Outlook offer infinite organizational options — and not just in the workplace, but also at home. From synchronized calendars to shared contacts to systematized to-do lists to available-anywhere email accounts, Outlook’s powerful infrastructure will ensure you don’t miss a business appointment, a soccer practice, or a scheduled chat with your college-age kid again.
If you have young children at home, utilize parental controls. Whether your tech-loving kid is a tot or a teen, exerting sensible control over their web activity should be Parenting Tech Tip #1. All popular Internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, offer security safeguard options and content filters that limit or prevent foul language, violence, sex, and nudity. Alternatively, you can install remote management content cops like Net Nanny that function like a downsized version of CMIT Marathon insist that your children use only parent-approved browsers and apps like KidZui, Zoodles, and BuddyBrowser; or even steer them toward kid-friendly social media networks like Webkinz, ClubPenguin, and GromSocial.
CMIT Solutions understands the challenges of back-to-school technology because we’ve been helping small and medium-sized business owners, many of them parents, overcome IT obstacles for the last 14 years. If you need help with any of the tips listed above, or have questions about any others, call your trusted CMIT technology advisor today.
No school-age kids? No problem. Chat with CMIT to see how your office can still get excited about increased end-of-summer productivity. After all, old computers can start dropping like leaves once fall rolls around.