How to Make Online Learning Safe

Most parents don’t prioritize adjusting computer settings or reading through endless privacy policies. They weren’t particularly attractive tasks even before the pandemic, overlapping economic and natural catastrophes.

With millions of children using loaner Chromebooks or iPads to start their remote school year, parents need to take some precautions to ensure their children’s safety, privacy, security, and mental health. There are many different school days across the country, from different districts to different states. Some schools use prerecorded lessons while others require that students keep Zoom on throughout the school day. Schools that have gone completely remote include parent-formed pods and hybrid in-person, online, and distance learning. There are also schools that are trying back to normal. Remote classes could be possible in the future, even for these schools.

To get some tips from privacy and education experts, we spoke to them to find out what you can do right now to avoid a $400 bill at the App Store. This will leave a digital trail that will follow your children to college or make you a stressed-out and unhappy student.

Establish separate play and school accounts

Make sure that kids have different email addresses to distinguish between school and recreational online activities. You can use the email address that was created automatically by your school district, such as a Gmail account through Google Classroom. You can also create a separate email to be used for other activities such as surfing the Internet, playing with friends, or falling into YouTube rabbit holes (closely watched). This will keep school information (such as visits to inappropriate sites) out of their hands.

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Common Sense Media’s senior parenting editor Caroline Knorr recommends that parents clearly distinguish between homework and free time. Common Sense Media is a media advocacy group for families. You may need to set up an email account for your children if they don’t have one. Use a tool such as Google Family Link to create an account that is specific for your child’s age and limits advertising.

These parental controls should be activated

Many children are experiencing their first online experience without any supervision. It seems simple to enable basic parental controls. It will prevent children from visiting adult and do my assignment sites. Start with Google Family Link, Apple Screen Time, or Microsoft’s family control if you have the device they are using. You can disable the ability to purchase media and apps, and limit or disable YouTube.

The school’s IT department often manages school-issued devices which can make things more difficult. The bright side is that computers lent by your school district likely already have some controls enabled by default. You can still control the network at the same level if you need more control but are unable or unwilling to change the settings. This means you can monitor or limit traffic to and from any device connected via your home WiFi. You can also set up shutoff options to prevent Internet access after 9 p.m.

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Modern routers offer parental control options through their websites or apps. Some, like Eero, also offer additional parental settings for a fee. A tool that controls traffic to your home can be used, such as Circle Home Plus, to manage devices on your home network.

Teach them cybersecurity basics

Hackers and scammers are eager to take advantage of the current work-and-learn-from-home chaos. Talk about cybersecurity with your children. Start by installing anti-virus software like LastPass or Dashlane, setting up a password manager, and, if your child is older, activating two-factor authentication to protect their accounts. Your children should not share their passwords or post personal information online. Encourage your school to include cybersecurity in its curriculum.

Richard Bird, a father to six children and chief customer information officer at Ping Identity, believes it’s important that we set an example.

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Bird says that parents sometimes aren’t good at managing their own digital security. Criminals want your child’s and your family’s data to facilitate a variety of activities. This includes creating fake digital identities to defraud government agencies such as the IRS and banks.

He suggests telling your children not to share any information, including homework and access to apps or services. Also, ask your school district what protections they have.

Take control of their personal data

It’s impossible to avoid it: Kids are sharing personal information online that can be difficult to control or rein in. Although school districts often screen the apps they use, privacy policies vary widely between districts. Schools might also use apps that are free to share anonymized student data.

To limit sharing, check the settings of individual apps (educational and recreational). Make sure that social accounts are not made public. For information about data privacy and apps approved by your district, visit the website.

Parents are finding it difficult to keep up with the school apps that track students from classrooms to bathrooms.

If you can’t find the information you need, you should take a look at each app’s privacy policies and contact the school to inquire about your child’s data. Is the school using keystroke logging software Is it possible for teachers to see student information? How long does it stay saved? Bradley Shear, a Maryland parent, has pushed his district to erase student data at each end of school year.

Knorr states, “You have the right to know what data they store and for how long, who has access to it, how they store it, and how long it is kept,”

Get out of your way!

Your child should find a quiet place to set up their computer. It is also important to ensure that the space is well lit. Students and teachers can already have difficulty forming a connection via video. It is even more difficult if they cannot see each other’s faces. To judge the lighting, use the preview.

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