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inspiring learning through technology

Physical safety

computer theft

 

Theft is one of the big fears of parents and Schools. You may be surprised to know that it isn’t anything like as common as many believe. In fact thefts from students are extremely rare and most thefts occur at school, from cars, and during house break-ins.

Here are a few points to share and instil into your child’s mind. There will also be reference to the responsibility of the student, the school and you as part of the ‘Home School Agreement’ that the school will ask you to sign.

  • When travelling with a laptop – try to keep it disguised as much as possible by using a normal bag, briefcase or backpack (but only when the laptop is already safely in its own case!).
  • On public transport – keep the device with you at all times and carry it with a strap around you (a wrist or shoulder or even a leg!). Never leave it in a luggage rack or unattended at any time. If you are travelling by air you must take it as cabin baggage.
  • When travelling by car – make sure it is out of sight, and secure, to prevent it being snatched when stopped at traffic lights and the like.
  • Remember – it is generally a condition of your insurance that the laptop must be kept with you at all times when travelling by public transport.
  • Never leave it in a car overnight – even in the boot, take it indoors with you.


Damage

It will come as no surprise to learn that tablets & laptop computers, which are relatively fragile electronic items, are more susceptible to damage while under the care and control of children, but the extent of damage can vary greatly. We have set out below the various risks and ways of minimising them.

Dropping

Dropping - 30% of insurance claims
This is one of the most common causes of damage and happens most normally when carrying a device around school or "slipping" from an unzipped school bag. The best way to avoid damage is to ensure that the device is always kept in the protective case that it comes with. If a case is not supplied then there are a good range of cases available to suit all styles and budgets.

It is also important that everyone plays their part and your school will have given you a home school agreement and a note about the school policy which will normally require that devices are kept in their cases at all times - with penalties for non-compliance. It is in your child’s interest to keep the device safe so that they don’t lose a single days’ benefit.

Knocked off

Knocked off desk/table/bed – 25% of insurance claims
It is all too easy to knock a tablet/laptop off a desk. This is mainly caused by either tripping over a power cable or knocking it off when walking by. Not surprisingly the majority occur while at school, but a significant proportion can also happen at home, usually for the same reasons.

Solutions include ensuring that devices must be fully charged when they arrive at school which removes the need to have them plugged in and on charge while at school. If charging does have to take place then try to make sure that this is done in a designated safe area at home, in the classroom  or in the IT office ensuring that all cables are routed away from potential trip areas.

What we find is that most youngsters are keen to look after their device as they enjoy having it and using it so it is most usually just a matter of being more aware of the potential problems and doing what you can to avoid them

 

Crushed

Crushed/knocked/ trodden on – 10% of insurance claims
Incidents of devices being damaged while in cases by being crushed or knocked are surprisingly common. Typically, pupils will force other objects (books etc) into the laptop case or they get banged into while moving about crushing the laptop against a wall. They might leave the device on the floor where it gets trodden on or even use the bag to sit on or as goal posts. We’ve heard many reasons!

The solutions are really the same as those above – just regular reminders of the importance of taking care and avoiding those things likely to cause any damage.

 

Liquid Spillage

Liquid spillage – 5% of insurance claims
This is generally the result of drinks being knocked over the keyboard or where drinks have been carried in the laptop bag and have spilt. The solution to this is fairly straightforward and really just about reminding your child not to have drinks near their device and never to  carry drinks in the same bag as their device.

 


Unattended risks

  • On the occasion when the device must be left unattended then it is important that this is done with due care.
  • If you have to leave it in a car during the day, put it in the boot and out of sight and make sure the doors are locked. Insurance will usually not cover a laptop stolen from a car overnight. During the day it will normally be covered, but only if locked out of sight in the boot.
  • Do not leave it in a classroom, restaurant or indeed anywhere else out of your sight or immediate possession as unattended it can and will "disappear".
  • Do not leave it in any unsecured classroom or room overnight or even at lunchtime, they do have a habit of going "walkabout". Don't give someone the opportunity of taking your device. If you have to leave it, make sure it is in a locked drawer, locker or cupboard or if nothing else, secure it with one of the proprietary security devices available (the school may even provide this). Remember, a computer which is stolen without any apparent break-in to the room or building would not normally be insured.

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