5 Ways to Protect Your Phone from Classroom Theft
It happened walking to fifth period, during lunch, at practice. It was taken by a best friend, a boyfriend, some woman with frizzy hair, the substitute teacher. These are a sample of the more than 550 stories on About.com chronicling the trials of students who have had their phone stolen.
More than three million smartphones were stolen last year according to a survey by Consumer Reports; an increase of 94 percent over the previous year. As another school year gets into full swing, here are five things to tell your kids to help avoid cell phone theft at school.
- Know the School Cell Phone Policy: Most schools today have a specific cell phone and device policy. Many state they are not responsible for cell phones or other electronic devices that are brought to school. Others ban the devices altogether and teachers are within their rights to confiscate the devices if seen. Know the school’s cell phone policy and realize that if a phone is stolen, it may be a matter for the police, not school administration.
- Keep the Phone Stashed Away Unless it’s an Emergency: Kids shouldn’t need their cell phones during school hours, so keep the devices stashed away. Thieves watch to see who has the latest models and when students aren’t looking, they lift the phone. If the phone is kept out of sight, it’s less likely to be a target. In addition, many administrators say that a cell phone reported “stolen” is often simply misplaced by the student. If the phone isn’t taken out, it can’t be forgotten or misplaced.
- Keep Your Phone on You: Backpacks, purses and gym bags are easy pickings for thieves. When a student turns away, a thief can take the device without disturbing the victim. It’s much harder to pick-pocket someone, especially if the phone is tucked deep inside an inner pocket. Don’t put the phone in a back pocket though. Not only is it easy for a pick-pocket to access, but it could end up swimming in the toilet.
- Lock Your Device with a Password: Set up your phone to timeout after a short period of inactivity, requiring a passcode to get back in. If your phone’s settings don’t allow for a swipe pattern, pin, or password, consider downloading a security app like NQ Mobile. Not only do these programs allow you to set a password, they also include features that allow you to remotely locate, lock and wipe your data.
- Don’t Make Your Phone a Conversation Piece: It’s tempting to brag about getting the latest model, but to keep a phone safe, kids need to keep the excitement to themselves. In addition, a utilitarian case is better than one that makes a flashy statement. Don’t do anything that draws attention to the phone.
Even the most vigilant students can misplace or have their phone stolen. If or when that happens, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance provider. A comprehensive protection program like Brightstar Device Protection’s McAfee Mobile Bundled offering ensures that not only can a lost or stolen device be located, locked, and wiped before a thief can get to it, but also ensures a fast replacement. Customers with an approved claim can receive a replacement phone as soon as the next morning.