Back To School: Protecting Your Kids' Computers & Devices
The start of a new school year is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about what tech products your child will need and how to protect them. Did you know the average American family will spend more than $600 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics for students grades K-12 and over $800 for college students? Back-to-School is an expensive time in today’s digital age and if a new computer is on your shopping list it will certainly put a strain on the budget.
So it’s important to take some time and find ways to protect your child’s technology to make sure it lasts throughout the school year. Just think about the amount of tech your child may be carrying in his backpack alone; smart phone, tablet, laptop, and portable hard drive. That’s over $1000 in one bag! That is a lot of lost money (and personal data) that can be stolen or damaged.
However there are ways you can reduce your risk of theft and damage.
- Antivirus Software – Make sure your child's laptop or computer is protected by Virus and Spyware detection software. You can find a free or paid solution which ever you are most comfortable with. We use avast! on our computers.
- Physical Lock – If your child lives in a dorm consider purchasing a laptop lock. You can use a similar lock to secure LCD monitors, printers and scanners.
- Backup Drive – Secure your important data on an external hard drive.
- Cloud Service – If you or your child are often moving from one computer to the other or switching devices, consider using a cloud service to share documents and files. Dropbox is one service that offers plenty of free space.
- Password Protect Your Devices – People usually password protect their computers but overlook their smart phones and tablets. You should password protect everything you can to help keep your personal information secure.
- Mobile Security – Consider a mobile security solution to help protect your mobile devices from viruses, malware, lost and theft.
- Online Backup – Consider an online backup service like Carbonite that will automatically backup your system so you don’t have to think about it.
- Laptop and Mobile Device Sleeves and Cases – To help ensure you gadgets last throughout the school year and beyond buy a protective case or sleeve to store the devices when not in use. Look for cases that don’t necessarily look like laptop bags.
Gone are the days of text books and calculators. Today’s student uses a tablet to read her text books and turns in class assignments via email. While it’s important to protect their data and gadgets, it’s more important that they protect themselves. Remind your child if they don’t need their tech gadgets for school then they should be left at home.
* According to The National Retail Federation's 2011 Back to School and Back to College Consumer Intentions and Actions Surveys conducted by BIGresearch.