The back to school frenzy of today has gone digital. And not just for parents looking to catch the best deals online – but more and more, schools require children to have Internet-enabled devices as digital education resources become more available. If you are worried about what your kids may be exposed to when surfing the net, you are not alone! While the online world is full of education, information and fun – and if used correctly offers huge benefits to every child – the problem is that the Internet is not always a safe place. In fact. according to a recent survey from Kaspersky, 6 out of 10 (60%) families have directly experienced or seen an online safety threat incident, with children seeing harmful content and Internet addiction are the most common threats.
Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), or e-learning, is gaining popularity across public and private schools in South Africa. The norm today is that tablets and smart devices are no longer luxury gadgets for kids but are becoming far more essential learning tools. This can often mean that children will spend more time on their devices away from parental guidance. And even under the supervision of parents or teachers, it’s often difficult to keep sight of all online activity.
Therefore, online protection for children should become an essential part of any back-to-school preparation, especially for parents wanting more peace of mind.
The good news is that the risk can be reduced with supervised Internet use. Therefore, parents should examine how they can protect their children’s devices and online access – especially as they spend most of their day at school. With added online protection for these devices, parents are given enhanced control of not only the websites their children visit, and the applications they use, but parents are also able to manage their children’s mobile data use. What’s even better, parents can regulate time spent online – restricting them even in free Wi-Fi hotspots areas.
We all know how easy it is to get distracted online and end up on pages you had no intention on visiting. Imagine how much easier it is for younger and more curious minds to be veered off course. For example, during a research assignment, a child may wonder onto the wrong website with inappropriate content, or malicious cyber threats. And even when you try to get them the ‘right or approved apps’, in-app advertising raises considerable concerns around inappropriate content that is being advertised to children. Not to mention that parents are now also faced with unwanted nagging epidemics from children who are keen to experience more from their games.
Here are some back to school device tips for securing your child’s device:
- Discuss the associated benefits and risks – While children often know a lot about devices, some may even know more than their parents, as the parent it is crucial to lay out the boundaries and explain why these are important for their wellbeing and safety. For example, while geotagging is great for navigational purposes – advise children to only keep it on when necessary as malicious onlookers do make use of such functions to target potential victims – and children should be cautious and limit opportunities for a person or cybercriminal with dubious intent to track their online and physical movements.
- Set a password – It’s standard but encouraging children to have unique passwords featuring a mix of numbers and symbols, and to change them often, is a good place to start to avoid victimisation and limit unwarranted access to their device. Make sure that you are aware of the password.
- Explore – With all the responsibilities that come with parenting, there’s often no time to play with gadgets. But still, it is important to take the time to explore the device and its manual to better understand the features yourself. Whether it is a device from school or one you have purchased that your child uses at school or home. It is also important to speak to the school about their mobile device policy and what cybersecurity they have in place.
Education in the digital age has undoubtedly become more exciting, where children are exposed to a wealth of information. Paperless classrooms are becoming more prevalent, which is why a good online security solution – coupled with ongoing education on online risks, protection and safe behaviour – will equip parents with the confidence they need to protect their children, while still allowing them to explore the web appropriately.
DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’
In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app
Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv.
In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.
The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks.
Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum.
The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.
“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice.
“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”
The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:
100 – DStv
180 – People’s Weather
238 – SuperSport Play
313 – PBS Kids
317 – Mindset PoP
320 – Channel O
343 – TBN
400 – BBC World News
401 – CNN
402 – Sky News
403 – eNCA
404 – SABC News
405 – Newzroom Afrika
405 – AlJazeera
414 – Euronews Now
417 – africanews
To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com
FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free
FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.
This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.
“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”
Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”
The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:
“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer. “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”