BYOD coming to more schools, parents should be aware says McAfee

The era of free laptops from state schools may well be drawing close to an end, at least for the moment, but the requirement for students to have these computers is hardly over, and this opens up new issues for parents to discuss with their kids.

If you live in an area lucky enough to still have laptops supplied to students, consider yourself one of the lucky few, as more schools this year have introduced the BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” concept to the classroom.

This idea has seen itself implemented in numerous work environments, as offices seek to make the the workplace more adaptable to work habits not just during actual work hours, but also slightly off grid.

But at home and in school, BYOD is more than just about letting students take their work from the classroom home with them in the digital environment, and is about schools saving money, as parents are encouraged to buy computers for the students instead of having them supplied as they have been in recent years.

In fact, with more schools in Australia considering BYOD, security group McAfee now says there is “an increased responsibility placed on parents to ensure that children understand how their devices should be used and that they are properly looked after.”

“As children become more immersed in the online world, and start using a larger variety of internet-enabled devices both at home and in the classroom, it is important that parents understand what the devices should be used for and how they should be looked after,” said Alex-Merton McCann, Cybermum for McAfee in Australia.

Part of how parents can make this happen is to talk to the kids about what the responsibilities are for these devices, and installing some form of security software.

It’s important to note that regardless of what major operating system you go for — Windows or Mac OS — security problems can be an issue, and so one of the family-based security plans that covers multiple devices may well be an excellent solution.

McCann suggests that data plans for laptops probably aren’t overly important, since schools will have WiFi, as will your home, but notebook battery life is something that you should talk with your kids about.

While you can probably plug in somewhere at school for a boost of electricity juice, most laptops should come to school pre-charged, especially since it’s doubtful every kid will be able to plug a computer to the wall in one classroom.

“It’s not just the school’s responsibility to manage safe internet usage and BYOD, parents need to be actively aware of their kids’ online world. Responsible online behaviour and care for devices is something that should begin in the home,” said McCann.