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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to shut down and take remote learning as a way to carry on academics. And, this would probably go on for a long time. Till then schools and other educational institutions would most definitely be using video conferencing as a way to impart academic lessons and carry other academic proceedings. Which brings the need of strengthening cyber safety for kids.
Knowing the fact that for remote learning several video conferencing apps are being used, here are some measures that can be adhered to ensure high video conferencing security. These are not extensive but some very simple steps that both teachers and parents can ensure for the well being of their children.
Steps To Follow For Better Remote/Distance Learning:
1. Use Meeting ID And Password Given By The Host –
In the wake of maintaining video conferencing security, apps like Zoom let you create personal IDs and passwords. Now, you could either opt for creating a random meeting ID but, keeping in mind the online safety for kids, it is always recommended to first and foremost, create a personal ID. Something that is to be shared with only the students who are meant for that particular session.
But, here’s yet another thing. What if this personal meeting ID is leaked on the web? The threats like Zoom bombing would loom over and you never know, an intruder might invade your meeting. Not at all good for kids!
As a weapon to tackle this, passwords should be used. Again, apps like Zoom and Webex let you enable passwords for meetings. As an add on security for remote learning, it is advisable that the passwords be sent via other forms of communication such as WhatsApp groups or texts. This will restrict the passwords to only those meant to take a particular session.
2. Exercising Entry Denial Of Participants On The Hosts End –
If possible and if the class size is small, then teachers can always start with a roll call just like they do in case of physical class. During that time, a teacher may ask the student to turn on their video and unmute their audio to confirm their name.
When using a video conferencing app and as a way to strengthen online safety for kids and other students, a host and a co host (as in some apps) should be wary of who they permit to enter in the meeting. A host has all the right in this world to deny the entry of a participant. This should especially be exercised if you have specifically asked participants to enter the meetings with their names and they refuse to change their device model names with their actual names.
A beautiful display of this is Google Meet. With Google Meet, only the calendar owners and the meeting creators can remove or mute other participants and only they can approve the joining requests of external participants. Also, once the nicknamed meeting’s last participant has left, not even the meeting participants can join.
Also Read: Cyber Security Predictions You Must Know
3. Make Your Home Network Security Stronger And Better Than Ever
In this current scenario, the internet’s being used more than ever. With organisations making work from home a compulsory norm and online classes for kids going on for a considerable part of the day, it is time that you strengthen your Wi-fi security. It goes without saying that there is a lot of critical data which is at stake. So, here are certain things that you can practice to ensure online safety for kids while they take online classes.
- Instead of having the name of your router’s manufacturer as the name of your Wi-Fi network, be creative and name it something else. This way a hacker will find it hard to know your router type
- Set a strong Wi-Fi password. This is a very basic step but something that’ll keep hackers and freeloaders from barging into your network
- Check if your router comes with a firewall which is indeed a great weapon to counter cyber attacks. If, by chance your router doesn’t have one, it won’t cost you much to install a good firewall to your router
- Keep all your devices connected to your Wi-fi updated. This means that you download all the latest security updates, install all security patches and all devices, PC’s in particular should be backed with an antivirus software
4. Beware Of What You Share On The Screen And What Your Students Share On The Screen
Any inappropriate information exposed on the screen can be abysmal for online safety for Kids and video conferencing apps seem to have sensed this well.
Applications like Cisco Webex have restrictive parameters where a host can restrict what is being shared on the screen. This ensures that no sensitive information or anything uncalled for is shared on the screen. In a similar fashion, Zoom has a screen sharing/ annotation disabling feature where the host (most probably a teacher or lecturer) can restrict participants from scribbling on their screens.
Again, no matter what video conferencing app you are using for conducting online classes, you should utilize such features for maintaining video conferencing security.
And, That’s The Way Our Kids Can Stay Safe Online –
Let’s Together Make Remote Learning A Joyful And A Secure Experience For Students
Cyber safety for students is of utmost importance when it comes to anything. And, with remote learning it is an onus on parents and teachers to ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensure that children stay safe online. The above mentioned points that would not just help enhance the learning experience but would even cement internet safety for students as well.
If you are a parent or teacher or even a student what other security measures would you suggest making remote learning more secure. Do let us know in the comments section below. If you found the blog interesting and useful, make sure you share it with everyone you care for. For more such tech-related content, keep reading Tweak library and don’t forget to catch us around on all social media platforms as well.