23 April 2020 | by Dillon Donahue

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Student Online Privacy

Given the times we currently find ourselves in, we’re wondering if/ when things will be back to normal. When thinking about students who are currently at home and how they can continue their education, we are now more than ever looking at online learning methods.

Online education has been a reality for a while now, and as the days and weeks go by the power of online education grows, becoming more relevant with each passing day. While online learning resources have been available for years, one question that persists is “Are online games and other free online materials safe for my child’s privacy?”

Across the internet there is an abundance of websites that offer online educational resources. However, there are major differences between the types of websites that offer free content for children.

Before any parent gives permission to access any website, it’s important for parents to go through first and read the websites privacy policy. Although they may all offer some type of educational media, many leave your child’s privacy at risk. Three differences are as follows:

  1. Websites that require sign up. Many of these websites that offer online learning content require that you sign up using an email address. Depending on the age of your child they may or may not have a personal email. Question the reason this is a requirement.
  2. Websites that give the option to sign up. There are a lot of websites out there that offer a wide range of videos, games, puzzles, etc. and give you the option of either accessing all content free with no sign up required. However, have the option to receive more access, offers and updates by providing an email. Before giving your child access, first read through the privacy policy. Many sites may state Our site complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, “COPPA.” However, they may also state: “Our web site contains links to web sites not maintained by their policy, and privacy and data collection practices on any sites are entirely separate from those of their own.” Proceed with caution.
  3. Websites that require a parent’s email. A great way to keep track of what websites your child is accessing is by using websites that require a parent’s email to access all content. Before your child can access anything on the website, an email will be sent to your email address, and you can review and decide whether you feel the content is suitable or not.

Keeping all this in mind and given the continued progression of virtual education, it’s important to recognize that there is a wealth of online education on the internet that is easily accessible. However, it’s equally important to be conscious and cautious of the differences between these websites and for parents to always review the privacy policies on the websites their children are accessing.

Dillon Donahue

Education Framework Specialist

CyberNB Inc.

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