Remote Learning: How to Solve Computer Problems and Keep Your Kids Safe Online

The necessity of remote learning means families need more computer help than ever. From one parent to another, here are some of my best tech support tips to help you provide a safe and effective home computer environment for your child.

One of this year’s challenges is the widespread shortage of some electronics. Web cams are scarce, as are laptops and other equipment. As a result, many people are turning to equipment they already have, like old phones, tablets, and laptops. Camera companies like Nikon are even changing their software so that their DSLR cameras can be used as web cams for distance learning.

Remote learning also poses new Internet safety challenges. According to a study from the Internet Watch Foundation, there’s been a 50% increase in reports of online child abuse images during the lockdown. It’s more important than ever to talk to your kids about Internet safety. I’m a big fan of age-appropriate Internet safety pledges, which guide the conversation and give your kids concrete rules that make sense.

The key to common ground on family Internet safety is communication. Here are some Tech Tips articles that can help.

It’s also a great time to teach your kids about strong passwords and computer security basics.

As far as supplies, you might want to stock up on printer ink as well as compressed air and electronic wipes for cleaning and sanitizing equipment. Check those headphones to make sure they’re not too loud for your child. There are kid-friendly headsets that limit the volume to protect your child’s hearing.

Don’t forget basic ergonomics! A good keyboard, mouse, and monitor are crucial for distance learning. These don’t have to be new, just comfortable to use. Check that your child’s desk and chair are also comfortable and sized appropriately. 

If you’re having problems with your school’s remote technology, start by asking their tech support department. Many schools are providing ample resources like tip sheets and video training as well as support staff to answer questions.

If you can’t find an immediate answer, try a little Internet sleuthing. New technology can be frustrating, especially when you’re having to set it up on the fly. Rest assured, you are not the only parent in this situation. Many school districts are using similar tools, so you may find resources outside your own district. Grassroots support forums abound to assist parents, educators, and students in troubleshooting problems.

Together we can embrace distance learning and make the experience a positive one for our students.

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