How to Protect Your Child’s Privacy During Remote Learning
Classes are held at home, with the parent or guardian acting as teacher, counselor, and yes, even IT expert to their kids. Nowadays, this setup is often called temporary homeschooling or emergency homeschooling.
One thing should remain a priority: the overall security of students’ learning experience during the pandemic. For this, many careful and considerable preparations are needed.
“I think one of the biggest problems we have is trying to replicate or mirror traditional classroom practices in the virtual realm,” said Torrey Trust, Ph.D., an associate professor of learning technology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. That’s especially true during the pandemic, she added, when there are a lot of students who have experienced trauma and are now being forced into a remote learning environment.
Digital platforms provide an opportunity for children to keep learning, take part in play and keep in touch with their friends. But increased access online brings heightened risks for children’s safety, protection and privacy. Some are familiar, and some are born from the changes introduced by the pandemic.
Security Tips For Parents And Guardians
To ensure distance learning and homeschooled students have an uninterrupted learning experience, parents or guardians should make sure that all the tools and gadgets their kids use to start school are prepared. In fact, doing so is similar to how to keep work devices secure while working from home.
Secure Your Wi-Fi
- Make sure that the router or the hotspot is using a strong password. Not only that, switch up the password every week to keep it fresh.
- Make sure that all firmware is updated.
- Change the router’s admin credentials.
- Turn on the router’s firewall.
Secure Their Device(s)
- Make sure students’ computers or other devices are password-protected and lock automatically after a short period of time. This way, work won’t be lost by a pet running wild or a curious younger sister smashing some buttons.
- Ensure that the firewall is enabled in the device.
- Enforce two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Ensure that the device has end-point protection installed and running in real time.
Consider Using A VPN
A VPN protects your privacy by creating a secure “tunnel” across the Internet between you and your Internet destination. This tunnel is created by first authenticating your client–a PC, tablet, or smartphone–with a VPN server.
The server, which you can run yourself with programs such as ExpressVPN, then uses one of several encryption protocols to make sure that everything sent between you and websites and Internet services can’t be monitored. It does this by creating an encrypted tunnel, which is like putting a package into a box and then sending it to someone. Nobody can see what it’s inside the box until it’s opened/decrypted.
Secure Your Child’s Data
- Schools use a learning management solution (LMS) to track children’s activities. It is also what kids use to access resources that they need for learning. Make sure that your child’s LMS password follows the school’s guidelines on how to create a high entropy password. If the school doesn’t specify strong password guidelines, create a strong password yourself. Password managers can usually do this for you if you feel that thinking up a complicated one and remembering it is too much of a chore.
- It also pays to limit the use of the device your child uses for studying only schoolwork. If there are other devices in the house, they can be used to access social media, YouTube, video games, and other recreational activities. This will lessen their chances of encountering an online threat on the same device that stores all their student data.
Secure Your Child’s Privacy
There was a case before where a school accidentally turned the cameras on of school-issued devices the students were using. It blew up in the news because it greatly violated one’s privacy. Although this may be considered a rare incident, assume that you can’t be too careful when the device your kid uses has a built-in camera.
Students are often required to show their faces on video conference software so teachers know they are paying attention. But for all the other time spent on assignments, it’s a good idea to cover up built-in cameras. There are laptop camera covers parents or guardians can purchase to slide across the lens when it’s not in use.
Find out how to stay in touch with your children’s teacher or school to stay informed, ask questions and get more guidance. Parent groups or community groups can also be a good way to support each other with your home schooling.