How Internet Cookies Can Affect Jackrabbit Use

Time to go on a diet? Did you know that cookies can affect your use of Jackrabbit?

Never fear, you can eat as many cookies as you like and continue to use Jackrabbit...we wouldn’t do that to you! However, the word cookie can mean other things. Specifically, as it relates to your internet browser and your use of Jackrabbit (an online program).

This can also affect your parents as well! By understanding what these non-caloric cookies do, you can help your parents avoid frustration!

What is a cookie?

Cookies are a message type used by web browsers that help websites remember and apply information learned about the user. An example of cookies is when you search for something on Amazon, then later see an ad for that thing on Facebook. This is because your web browser stored a cookie about your interests, then Facebook applied that cookie to get your attention with an ad. You have probably seen Zippy follow you around the internet...that is because you are visiting Jackrabbit frequently!

Why are cookies important for Jackrabbit?

Many of Jackrabbit’s functions utilize cookies to remember how the customer uses the database. Jackrabbit’s primary use for cookies is to store what is called a session ID. The session ID tells the site who the user is each time they navigate to a new page. Another example of the use of cookies specific to Jackrabbit would be when you go to List All Families, scroll down, and choose a family. Then you click return and it remembers where you were rather than taking you to the top of the list.

Because Jackrabbit uses cookies to verify the session ID on every page, the user cannot get past the login screen when cookies are disabled in their browser settings. They enter their information, click login (on Parent Portal OR Jackrabbit itself), and then a screen comes up saying their session has timed out. In other words - Jackrabbit was unable to verify they were in a live session. 

Jackrabbit was working fine - what changed?

When a third party browser software such as Explorer/Edge, Chrome, or Safari does an update it can sometimes reset the browser's cookie settings. We have seen this recently (July 2017) with Internet Explorer and Edge. Our Support Team saw an increase in tickets where parents were unable to login to the Parent Portal using Edge as their browser. Those darn cookies!

Issues with cookies often surface when someone is using a mobile device (e.g. iPhone or tablet). Mobile browsers force updates more often and more visibly. It can happen where an update resets cookie settings. With this, a user who formerly had no problems logging into their Portal may suddenly experience issues with their login on that mobile device until they allow cookies again.

Some common error messages that people get when cookies have been disabled in their browser and they try to login:

  • Jackrabbit Database - Click Log In and see this message: “This function requires that you be signed in. Signin and try again." or "Session timed out or no longer valid. Please re-login.”
  • Parent Portal - Click Sign In and see this pop-up “It appears your session is no longer valid. Please login again.”
  • Staff Portal - Staff member will try to login and it reverts them back to the location selector.

So, what to do before contacting Jackrabbit Support? Double check your browser and make sure that cookies are allowed. Don’t know how to do that?  Hit Google and search on “resetting cookies in Safari” or “enabling cookies in Edge”.  There will be a wealth of information returned to you specific to your browser and device.