School has started again, and for many, that means online learning this year. This is very difficult for some families who can’t get an internet connection due to financial difficulties. School districts are struggling to fill in the gaps. In the meantime, here are six ways to get your child online when you don’t have an internet provider.
- Public Wi-Fi: This one might be more difficult right now since so many restaurants are trying to discourage people from just hanging out using Wi-Fi, but many community centers like your local YMCA will still have it. It is recommended, if you can afford it, to get a VPN to protect your personal information on your computer.
- Turn your phone or tablet into a Wi-Fi hotspot: Every device has a different way to do this, so you’ll have to look it up for your device and your phone data provider.
- Cable tethering to a mobile device: Similar to turning your phone into a hotspot, you need to look up how this works for your specific device and phone service provider. This could be a better option though, because you are hardwiring your computer to your phone.
- Buy a portable cellular router: Some mobile internet providers sell what is essentially just a gadget to connect you to the internet. Shop around and you can find some deals that might be cheaper than getting a traditional internet provider.
- Buy a USB cellular modem: This little gadget will connect your laptop to your local 3G or 4G network. They are generally cheaper than the portable cellular router listed above.
- Bum off your neighbor’s Wi-Fi: Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor if you can use her or his Wi-Fi. Keep social distance and clean your area before and after you work, but I would think most people would be agreeable to helping a kid do her or his homework. And if they’re not, that says more about them than about you. Maybe you can sweeten the pot by agreeing to do something in exchange for them, like cooking dinner or watching their kids sometime.
The pandemic has forced many of us into a lot of changes. These six ideas can hopefully help you get your child connected while we wait for better solutions.
By Bethanie Ryan