Technology Safety Information for Families
Cybersecurity is a common term meaning security of computerized (cyber) information and relates to steps we can take to protect personal information from unauthorized access.
The Renton School District follows a set of guidelines contained in Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) legislation and uses internal controls to protect student records from unauthorized access. There are also steps students and families can take that will further protect your personal information.
Learn more about internet filtering and categories of allowed/blocked content by grade.
The school district stores most student records in the Skyward Student information System. Certain authorized school district staff are provided access to these records to update and maintain them. Access is also provided to you and in some cases your student. Student records contain a trove of useful information to help you observe and participate in the progression of your student’s education. Please be sure you and your student select good passwords to protect this valuable information.
Accessing the internet from your home is a good way to stay informed with what is going on in the world. Almost anything you can think of can be found and accessed. In our schools, we promote digital citizenship, which is good digital practices. Students are coached during their instructional career with techniques and behavioral norms on what constitutes appropriate usage of this resource at their current grade level and what to do if something out of the ordinary occurs.
Internet access by young people can be more productive and safer if access occurs within the line of site of an adult. Just as school internet access is arranged so the classroom teacher can be aware of every student’s usage, there is benefit to keeping an eye on our young ones that are using this resource that contains more than kid-friendly material. Please encourage your student to report to you anything about their usage that does not feel “right”.
In the older grades, many students are issued a school laptop that can go home. That laptop contains a “filter” that can block access to most objectionable material, however no filter can capture every single occurrence. Please encourage your student to work from the device in an area where they can be observed periodically. Similar web filters can be purchased for other computers within your home and can provide added protection to keep your student on track.
All students in the district are provided a school email address. Elementary students can only email internally and cannot reach outside the walls of the district while secondary students can. The school district has the ability to investigate claims of inappropriate usage for the district email address.
If you provide your student a personal email address, once your student changes it’s password, you may no longer have access to it to review it. Some students may open their own email accounts that you won’t know about, nor have access to. This is another reason to keep computer usage in the open.
Email addresses should be monitored by you whenever possible to look for inappropriate usage. Email addresses can be used communicate with any other person your student wishes. While digital citizenship coaching will help students understand their usage, it is important to remain engaged with your student as they lack the skills to determine who and what is real.
Social Media has benefits to help your student feel as though they are a part of a community. Some common platforms are Facebook, Snapchat, Whats App. Insist on remaining inside your student’s communities and be sure you retain access to their accounts as a condition of their access. As with any community, there can be a bad neighbor. If you can keep an eye from a distance to let your student explore, you can also be there if the bad neighbor shows up.
Some parents supply their student with technology items. Different schools and teachers have different policies on how these devices can be used in a classroom. During non-class time students often gravitate to these devices as they provide a means to access their social media and friends. These devices provide full internet access, often totally controlled by the student. Please consider setting standards with your student for how much time and what kind of access they will receive. Most cellular providers have an add-on service to allow parents to filter the internet content their student can receive. The service may also allow you to have control over the device.