How to take a screenshot

A month ago, I attended a parent education night on bullying. Our Vice-Principal suggested that parents save any upsetting posts, pictures or messages by taking a screenshot. It sounded easy. We just needed to know one thing – what was a screenshot.

Most parents have never taken a screenshot. A screenshot is an exact picture of the computer or mobile screen you are viewing. It is also a great illustration of why kids need to think before they post. It is so easy to copy and share online content. So, if you need to capture and save an image of a screen, here is how to take a screenshot.

Desktop Computer or Laptop

On a computer or laptop, it is a cinch. In fact, my kids still laugh about the day I discovered the magic button.  On the keyboard in the top row towards the right is a button labeled “PrtSc”.  It is usually next to the insert or delete buttons and above the backspace.

PrtSc stands for “print screen”. Pressing this button instantly copies the computer screen exactly as it appears. To see it, I go to Accessories, open Paint, select Paste and voilà – my screen. Now, the image can be saved as a picture file.


For an Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, it requires two buttons. To take a screenshot, press the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button simultaneously. The screen will flash and the image is saved under Photos.


The Android world is a bit more complicated. Many companies, including Motorola, Samsung and HTC, use the Android operating system for their smartphones. Unfortunately, most of these phones do not have a built-in screenshot feature. 

I have found a few websites with instructions on how to reconfigure an Android phone to allow it to take screenshots. Reconfiguring is a lot of work. For these phones, you may want to go old school and try to take a picture of the screen with a camera or quickly download an app such as Screenshot it for $4.99.

If your kid has a new smartphone running the latest Android 4.0, many of these phones now have a screenshot feature built-in. How to take a screenshot varies depending on the manufacturer. For the Samsung Galaxy, press the Volume Down button and the Power button at the same time for a couple of seconds. For a HTC smartphone hold down the Power button and press Home simultaneously. Screenshots usually show up in the phone’s Gallery.