Keeping Children Safe During Remote Learning and Socializing

As students, families, educators, and extracurricular service providers continue to use video conferencing tools and other apps for online school and for online activities, there are key digital security best practices that should be considered.

  1. Families should understand the policies and security features on their devices and for any app.

    • Set up parental controls on your child(ren)’s devices: Windows and/or Mac.
    • Set up parental controls for web browsers. For Chrome, you can create a supervised profile to monitor and block any content they visit. Firefox has many different add-on extensions for similar purposes.
    • Set up parental controls for all of the apps your kids can access. You can set their Facebook privacy setting to “Friends Only” and block specific content for their YouTube channels.
  2. Families should discuss the importance of digital privacy, digital footprint and tone.

    • Make sure your child(ren) knows that they shouldn’t be video chatting with strangers or people they don't know in person. Remind kids that meetings can be recorded, so they should avoid saying or doing anything on video that they wouldn’t feel comfortable having shared outside the group. And instruct them to tell you or another trusted adult if something happens online that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.
    • Teach kids about the importance of keeping their information private. Have them create usernames that don’t include their full names, and make sure they understand never to give out their home address or other personal details.
    • Discuss what online behavior is acceptable and what is not. Explain that anything that happens online can live forever and be seen by anyone, including parents, teachers, principals and college admissions staff.
    • Explain to kids that chats and emails are easy to misinterpret, so they should go out of their way to be courteous so that they don’t accidentally upset their friends or family.
  3. Meeting hosts should adjust video conferencing settings.

    • Adjust the settings to restrict file and screen sharing.
    • Avoid using a Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events.
    • Generate random meeting IDs.
    • Set up two-factor authentication with a meeting ID and user password.
    • Lock the meeting once it is in session so no new participants can join.
    • Have all students "wait" in the Waiting Room and be admitted one by one instead of all at once.
    • Disable video from distracting participants and/or mute participants.
    • Disable private chats among participants.
    • Refuse the ability to rejoin once a student has left the meeting.

Sources

Everything You Need to Know About Zoombombing & Keeping Your Child Safe During Online Learning & Socializing, by Maressa Brown

Teaching Your Kids to Be Safe Online: A Hasty Primer, by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity, Panda Security