Virtual Learning Safety Tips
Heading back to school is complex as students embark on a mixture of virtual learning, hybrid and in class instruction. Because so many are online, sometimes schools forget to effectively communicate directly with parents about the steps that need to be taken in order to keep our kids safe at school — and at home. Stories are flooding the news about kids experiencing hacked Zoom calls- and that’s just the beginning when it comes to dangers of online instruction.
Surely, this isn’t meant to scare parents; these tips are based on recognizable safety that has always been espoused by security experts. The importance of maintaining privacy for our children is the fundamental goal with most of these suggestions.
The student should be online with their back to the wall
Most cameras reveal more information in the background than is often considered by users. There are numerous stories of students, workers, or family members being embarrassed or shamed based on stuff left on the floor, open closets, reflections in mirrors, books on shelves, or pictures on a wall. This whole issue is easily avoided by turning the camera to face a wall. Family photos shared on Facebook or other platforms can be visible but remember that in a classroom setting, the fewer distractions the better. Students that get bored have been known to start perusing the backgrounds of their classmates. The best way to avoid any breach of safety is to not reveal anything in the first place.
Natural settings are often the go-to when it comes to background. The caution here is that the information can be used for unintended purposes. Lakes, buildings, trees, landmarks and other identifying characteristics can reveal a location of a house or building. Several media personalities have recently had their home addresses revealed by a simple comparison to Google maps. If privacy is a concern, a neutral background is best.
Another issue is the unintentional photo bomb. The internet is awash with parents walking into the background, younger siblings streaking by a doorway, or distracting animals. Limiting distractions will only enhance the learning environment for everyone.