Student privacy is not the most discussed topic on education boards and forums. Parents and students themselves are taking action to protect their data and encourage all school communities to take this matter more seriously.
While students are using school computers and networks for educational purposes, it can often leave their data exposed to security risks. The educational system must include rules and regulations for proper student data management. Avoiding personal data exploitation is essential in all school grades.
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Understanding the Student Privacy Risks
Digital devices and similar tools can enhance students’ experience during their educational journey. However, the use of smart devices in classrooms and on school premises can have negative consequences.
While most teachers are concerned about students being distracted by phones and laptops, few think about data privacy. Students are exposed to common security risks each time they log into school computers or use the school’s public WiFi.
If the computers and networks at school are not secured, they can put students’ data in danger. On top of that, using digital devices is not the only way students’ data can be exposed to the education process.
Schools often require different types of personal details. Usually, they are asked to provide home addresses or other sensitive information about their household. All data revealed to the educational facility can be put to risk if the schools don’t have adequate security protocols and procedures.
Principles for the Protection of Student Privacy
The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is a group that is actively working toward improving student privacy rules and regulations across the United States. This group has created five crucial principles to improve student privacy protections in schools and allow parents to control their children’s data. These principles include the following:
- Transparency – According to this principle, parents must be notified if their child’s data is leaked or exposed to any person or organization outside the school system. Each student data disclosure should be properly labeled and announced.
- No Commercial Uses – This principle ensures that the student’s data cannot be sold in any way or used for marketing purposes. The students must not receive any advertising or targeted ads based on the data revealed to the educational facility.
- Security Protection – Educational facilities must implement security protocols to ensure full encryption of all personal data as the minimum measure. These protection protocols must prioritize students’ personal data and passwords.
- Parental Rights – The students’ parents must be allowed to see the school’s data collected from their child. They also must have the right to delete it at any time or opt-out of further data collection.
- Enforcement – Lastly, there should be laws that specify fines for schools and educational facilities that fail to protect student’s data.
What Can the Students Do
The most significant risk of student data exposure lies in using unprotected networks and devices at school. While schools should take action to protect sensitive data, the students should also be aware of potential risks.
Teachers should encourage students to learn more about basic internet privacy and security risks, and teach them why protecting their IP addresses is crucial for data security.
If a student asks you, “how can I hide my IP address,” using a virtual private network (VPN) is the best solution. When it comes to younger students, encourage their parents to install VPN on their devices. This service ensures full data encryption on public WiFi networks.