As a follow up to yesterday’s article, “How Schools Use Private Student Data,” I offer 7 actions that parents and guardians can do now to put the control of your child’s private data back into your hands and limit what schools actually do with this important information.
Action Step #1: While your child is doing their homework, do yours. Research the following sites to become familiar with student privacy:
Action Step #2: Be involved with your child’s education and develop an open line of communication with his or her teacher. This will allow you to ask the “hard” questions, like:
- What websites and apps do you plan on recommending to your students?
- What student data do you collect?
- How is collected student data protected?
Action Step #3: Review, study, learn and know the privacy policies of educational sites and apps that your child will be exposed to. You can skip all the legal mumbo-jumbo that is difficult to decipher, but you need to concentrate on what personal identifiable information the site or app collects and who it shares this information with.
Action Step #4: Be leery of “free” services or apps. Usually the company that made the app or created the service plans to make money by using user data. Know that regardless of the company, every company must legally follow its published policies, even though they have the right to change them at any time. This is why it’s so important to frequent their policies often.
Action Step #5: Become supportive friends with school administrators. Let administrators know that you support all that they and your child’s teacher(s) are doing to help your child learn and be successful this school year. Make it known that you want to help, too. A part of this is protecting your child by knowing what data the school collects and what information that you are able to legally withhold from the school about your child. By building a relationship with school administrators, it makes not only asking about this but receiving accurate answers easier.
Action Step #6: Actively surf on your child’s school’s website and if they have social media accounts, check those out too. Do this frequently to find out if:
- Photos of students are being posted;
- The names of students are on the school’s website or if images are tagged on Facebook; and
- Visitor data is shared with third parties.
You may want to ask the school not to associate your child’s name with his or her photo that is floating around in cyberspace.
Action Step #7: Make your voice heard. Do your due diligence as a parent and contact Congress about student data privacy.