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Five ways to keep your student's digital life safe

Christopher Breen | Aug. 21, 2014
As students return to school, technology goes with them. That technology--and the data generated by it--is valuable not simply as a means for getting school work done, but also as entertainment for those brief hours between one assignment and the next. It's for this reason that it pays to plan for disaster. With a single massive power burst, storage media that suddenly heads south, or interaction with a light-fingered ne'er-do-well, the technology your student depends on can vanish. Take these five tips to heart, however, and the loss of a device or data need not be catastrophic.

For iOS devices students absolutely should enable a passcode and if they're particularly concerned about their iPhone, iPod, or iPad's data, travel to Settings > Passcode, switch off the Simple Passcode switch, and then configure a difficult-to-guess passcode made up of letters, numbers, and characters. If the device supports Siri, also disable the option to access Siri from the lock screen.

Make allowances

Parents and students understand that obtaining an education can be a costly affair. In addition to all the other ways that parents often pitch in they can set up an iTunes Store allowance for their children. While this may conjure up images of students burning through their monthly stipend with music and movie purchases, allowances can additionally be used for purchasing ebooks and educational apps.

Setting up an allowance is easy. Launch iTunes, navigates to the iTunes Store, click the Send iTunes Gifts link, click Learn More About Gifting in the resulting window, and then click Set Up an Allowance. You'll be prompted for your Apple ID and password. Enter it and click Continue and you're taken to the Set up an iTunes Allowance page. Here you can choose to create an allowance for between $10 and $50 a month (in $10 increments) in iTunes credit. Until you disable the allowance, your student will receive this credit at the beginning of each month.

Order the extras

In your student's early days you stuffed their backpack with more than just books. Pencils, pens, notebooks, erasers, and calculators went along for the ride. Older though your child may be, they're just as needful of necessary add-ons today as they were then.

We've already mentioned an external hard drive and a handful of USB thumb drives for backup and file transfer purposes. There isn't a student alive who couldn't additionally benefit from a couple of power strips, at least one extra iPhone or iPad charger, a spare syncing cable or two, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a protective backpack or bag to carry their gear.

None of these tips will ensure terrific grades, a winning social life, or greater insight into Ulysses, but they are sure to remove impediments that can make an already demanding academic life more challenging.

 

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