From early education to postgraduate work, there’s been a national shift towards technology-driven schooling. Students use technology for a variety of reasons—to stay organized, collaborate with their peers, turn-in assignments, conduct research, and beyond. Most importantly, they can implement their technological skills in college and throughout their careers.

Technology can foster creativity and the ability for kids to find their own learning styles. Unlike television or lectures, devices do not create a passive experience. Instead, it promotes a rich learning environment that encourages exploration, invention, and discovery. Teachers have also reported heightened self-esteem among students who interact with technology in the classroom. In a group-learning environment, technology encourages cooperation, and those who grasp new concepts well are typically eager to teach their peers and take on a leadership role.

Though extremely helpful, computers can be quite an investment—which is why it’s important to keep them safe and secure. Purchasing Internet security and anti-virus software can protect your computer from spyware, viruses, and malware, and often includes parental controls.

In the event of a computer crash or electrical outage/surge, it’s beneficial to back up your data. You can back-up manually by transferring important documents to an external hard drive, or even online storage options such as Dropbox, which allows users to store 2GB of storage at no cost.

Have you ever seen a mysterious email in your inbox? Be sure to teach your children the importance of never opening suspicious messages, especially any attachments contained in them. Even if the email is from someone in your contact list, unusual content can be the result of the sender’s account being hacked.

In addition, you should stay away from rogue websites by looking for a green lock in the address bar, and the code prefix “//” at the beginning of the URL while visiting banking sites, accessing any web mail or sensitive information, or entering card information. Avoid deals that are too good to be true, and pay attention to the information your children give out on social media—something as innocent as your pet’s name cane be used to answer security questions on some other website.

Last, it’s best to discourage your kids from using your work computer. In part, it’s because employers want you to use the machines they provide you for work. However, it’s also because they’re afraid your activity can compromise the company’s computer network—putting the company at risk in a variety of ways.

In short, technology is quite beneficial—and almost necessary—for the back to school grind. Following the proper steps to maintaining a safe and secure computer is a sure way to keep your machine safe!