Back to School Challenges in a Mobile World

Octavio Hernandez

This Digital Generation doesn’t know how good they have it!

It occurred to me recently as I watched the never ending string of commercials and listened to the mumbling of school children in department stores to their long suffering parents – back to school has gotten a whole lot more complicated than when I was a kid. 

Before I was a parent I looked at access to an unlimited amount of study material as a massive jump forward for school kids. Now my kids are at the age where they’re asking for their own smartphones. They want unlimited use of the “family” tablet. (I say “family” because it is only my son who gets to use it: no-one else in the family has had a look in for 12 months!!) But instead of finding out why the sky is blue, or reading an ebook, they’re playing minion rush, candy crush and watching Netflix.

So much online material available to today’s students

If I had access to study resources that they have available, I wonder would I have stuck to deep diving into the curriculum? It’s likely I would have looked up as much non-educational content as I could get away with. But alas our Commodore 64 didn’t have super fast broadband, never mind the 391MB that is needed to store Clash of Clans on my smart phone.

Yes. I’ve turned into my mother. Back in the day my parents didn’t understand the music I chose to listen to. Whenever I see my kids glued to an iPad playing RoBlox, I just don’t get it.

So there is a generational gap, even for those of us who understand and embrace technology, the technology we know is not the same as the technology kids know. For example, I only recently found out my nephew used the messaging functions within games to keep in contact with his friends. Take a look at his iPad and you won’t find iMessage being used or snapchat, he messages his friends from within games, who knew? Not me that’s for sure.

It is a revelation to me but for all I know about the Internet I don’t know how younger generations actually use it.

Technology is cool

Let’s look at some things I do know. Younger generations are pretty demanding at back to school time. “But all my friends have one” – does that ring a bell?  Is it a good enough reason to give little Billy the phone he has been hinting at since school ended and is now turning up the pressure on you for at back to school time? Remember when a new backpack and stationery were the things to have? That’s no longer enough.

Then there is the associated cost, the phone looks cheap compared to Billy’s appetite for data, if only vegetables were as attractive as gigabytes of data. What could he be using all that data for? Remember I told you earlier that you don’t understand? Well you don’t and if you think you do just ask Billy and he will remind you. Loudly.


Why is this relevant in business?

Your business is made up of different types of users, with varying user behaviors. Some may be highly security conscious, some may be careful about how much mobile data they are using, and some may just access what they like on that handy mobile device you’ve given them.

Don’t despair though, there are solutions to help not only manage spend but also to make sure that your staff are protected from darker areas of the Internet where they should not be exploring. Just like the kids.

What if you could set the times of day that cellular data actually works, the types of sites and apps that are permitted, how much data can be consumed and at what speed? It is all possible with Moda from Asavie (also available as AccessMyLAN from AT&T in the US)

If you worry that as a parent you should be on top of these matters then don’t feel so bad, you are not alone. Each day you turn on the local news and hear about local school districts that have rolled out tablets with Internet access to the entire student base, imagine being responsible for that! The good news is many school districts solve the Internet safety and data usage challenges associated with large deployments of educational tablets using Asavie’s Moda/ AccessMyLAN also.