Norton's Back-to-School Checklist for Online Safety

Tips from Norton on getting kids ready for the cyber-schoolyard

Aug 23, 2011, 00:01 ET from Norton

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

WHAT/WHY:    Parents' back-to-school checklist usually includes getting the new backpack, school supplies, and new clothes, but they shouldn't forget about getting their kids ready for the cyber-schoolyard. Trouble with peers online, an accidentally deleted term paper, or a ruined hard drive are all obstacles kids can run into during the school year. Reviewing cybersecurity basics with kids will help ensure their back-to-school experience goes smoothly.  


First, parents should remind their kids about the risks of cyberbullying, and teach them how to avoid being a participant or a victim. Second, parents can protect their family from malicious websites that target people searching for common back-to-school search terms. And third, families can ensure that they'll always have the computer help they need with a reliable technology assistance service.

  • Cyberbullying. As kids get ready to go back to school, they're also getting ready to re-enter the intense social world they probably tuned out during the summer. As summer ends, parents should take the time to review the dangers of cyberbullying.
    • In a 2011 survey of parents conducted by Norton and Impulse Research, nearly one in four parents polled (24 percent) said their child had been involved in a cyberbullying incident
    • Nearly three out of four of those parents (68 percent) said their child was the victim of the incident

Remind kids that "real life" etiquette applies in cyberspace and that if they see someone being cyberbullied, they should talk to an adult. For more information on how to protect your child from cyberbullying, as well as other online dangers, check out the Norton Family Online Safety Guide.

  • Poisoned back-to-school search terms and inappropriate websites. Searching for back-to-school basics isn't always safe. Cybercriminals monitor trends and calendar events so they'll know what Internet users are most likely to search. Then they create malicious websites that turn up in searches for the term. When clicked, unsuspecting search engine users are tricked into downloading unwanted malware.  Additionally, kids may run into inappropriate websites when doing research for school.  Parents can use a free, Web-based service such as Norton Online Family to stay in the loop on their kids' online lives.  
  • Be prepared for tech troubles. It's 2 a.m., the assignment is due tomorrow and…the document is gone! Tech catastrophes always occur at the worst times. Parents and students can disaster-proof their digital lifestyle with NortonLive Ultimate Help Desk, a personal IT assistance service. Norton is offering a 25 percent student discount until Sept. 30 so students can have peace of mind throughout the year, knowing they'll receive immediate help for PC, network, printer, smartphone and other digital device problems. Experts are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help students get the most out of their technology, without having to leave the comfort of their own home – or dorm room.

In addition to these tips, parents should remember to cover the basics of staying safe online with a comprehensive security suite such as Norton Internet Security or Norton 360.

EXPERTS:    Norton Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt is on hand to share information about the most recent back-to-school threats online and best practices for kids and parents.

WHEN:    Interviews with Norton experts available upon request.

MATERIALS:    Cyberbullying survey fact sheet available upon request.


Katie Nafius

Edelman for Norton