In an ever-increasingly digital world, data security and data privacy is a growing concern for schools. Educators have always been responsible for safeguarding students’ personal information. Now, this extends to children’s personal data when they use computers. This is an added layer that’s difficult to defend against, especially when students aren’t fully aware of the dangers of data breaches and lax security measures.
When we talk about data in this article, we are referring to data that technology can require or take from you. When you sign in to a program, you often provide your name and other personal information such as an email address, physical address, or telephone number. That is the data you willingly provide and can control. Some companies can also take behavioral data including what articles you’ve read online, what types of web pages you most often visit, the time of day you tend to log on, your shopping tendencies, etc.
Websites and software can gather a lot of information from your movements on the internet. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s important to recognize this fact and impart that knowledge to your students so they can understand data privacy and take actions to safeguard the important information they don’t want to share with others.
Social media is one of the most common types of technology that can gather extremely personal information about users. If children aren’t supervised when using social media, they may be sharing more information than they know. That said, social media has now become such a mainstream part of society that its use is almost inevitable. Knowing how to use technology safely is an important skill for children. If they are not allowed to use technology or social media due to a parent or guardian’s fears, then the child’s lack of ability and understanding may set them back as adults. Information is power, and we believe that teaching children to use technology in a safe way is the best route to take.
A school in Chicago figured out a way to teach students how to use social media in a supervised way and also boost positivity levels and confidence at the same time. By showing students how to use technology to their advantage and in a controlled manner, adults can better safeguard children’s privacy.
Because technology is a wonderful tool to use for educational purposes, there is a growing market for ed tech geared toward children of all ages. These programs provide unlimited possibilities to make learning fun and full of movement. However, it’s crucial for administrators to ask good questions before bringing new ed tech into the classroom:
- What data is collected, and how will it be used?
- Is data stored securely, and who has access?
- How long will data be kept?
- If there is a data breach, what is the protocol? Will we be notified?
By asking these important questions and receiving satisfactory answers, educators are doing their part to safeguard their students’ right to data privacy.