For Parents: Managing Online Services & Accounts

One of the topics I get a lot of questions about from parents I know is managing the accounts tied with iTunes and other “app” and “music” services. Every service makes it easy to get started with a single e-mail account for a single person. But what happens when you’ve given your child a device (or two) and they require some sort of ID?

This can be confusing!

To make it complicated, the rules and methods by which all these accounts work is constantly changing. To start, we think parents should know the following:

  1. Where do go to get information on managing accounts between devices and more than one person,
  2. How to access and turn-on parental controls,
  3. Know what an account is tied to (other services, or your credit card!),
  4. How to turn on GPS tracking on mobile devices,
  5. How to enable “Find my Friends” or “Google Latitude.

For Apple iOS devices, there’s an Apple ID (an e-mail address and password) that can manage everything. You use it to sign-in to iTunes on the computer to make purchases, and it’s your iCloud account for syncing documents. Apple will also allow you to disconnect the two with a second e-mail address which become an iTunes Account and an iCloud Account. You can also read on how to manage more than one iTunes account on a single computer.

Some parents elect to give children their own iTunes account that is not tied to a credit card. One option is the iTunes Allowance and the other is to use gift cards to populate the account with credit.

For Google Android devices and the Google Play service, you can read about using your Google Account here.

Another popular service is Amazon’s Kindle Accounts, for use with Kindle devices and Kindle apps.

In addition to the links above, your mobile carrier may also have features in place you may wish to take advantage of. At the time of this writing, you can view information about AT&T Smart Controls, Verizon Safeguards, and Sprint Parental Controls.

Lock-Down Drill A Success!

The Goochland schools continue to press on toward further establishing an environment of safety and preparedness. This past week’s division-wide lock-down drill was a tremendous success for several reasons. To highlight a few:

  • It brought necessary awareness throughout the community of the need to practice our response in these situations;
  • It gave students and teachers an opportunity to establish routines that will become an engrained part of the monthly drill activity;
  • Those who typically are not included in school-based drills, such as maintenance staff and community members who happen to be visiting the school, had the opportunity to encounter a lock-down situation and formulate invaluable questions during debriefs.

We thank the Sheriff’s Department for participating in the drill, offering first-hand, realtime advice and generally helping to create the safest schools possible.

The School Safety Task Force has continued to broaden its scope of participation and will soon welcome interested community members to the table. We look forward to including lessons learned from this drill in our planning efforts.

As always, please send me your questions and suggestions as we work together to keep our schools safe.

Secret Life of a Sixth Grader

This is an interesting article written from the perspective of a parent, who discovers her son’s thriving life online through Instagram, a photo sharing service.

When my son was sleeping, I was checking the text messages and followed the Instagram updates — after all, this wasn’t really sneaking if my son maintained a public profile. But what could I say? Should I tell him that I am monitoring his moves? Was my looking at text messages the same as reading a diary? Was I violating my son’s privacy and simply making too much of this?

Here are some tips we’ve compiled for parents and families.

Thanks to Mrs. Bachmann who forwarded me this article!