By Lucy Wyndham
The 2020 school year is about to begin, and as all children in DC will be attending online classes in September, parents are already gearing up to ensure that their kids will have everything that they need to make virtual learning a breeze. Apart from making sure that they have the right computer equipment and a good Wi-Fi connection, parents have also taken part in online seminars so they can be guided on how virtual classes will proceed. But in addition to having the right tech, families should also make sure that their children are taught about staying safe while they’re online. Creating a safe digital environment is essential to make remote learning a success. Here’s a guide to teach your child about Internet safety.
Keeping cybercriminals at bay
One of the concerns that are often raised by parents about online learning is that some learning tools or platforms may not be fully vetted for safety or that they may have inadequate privacy safeguards. Last year, it was reported that over 500 US schools were hit by ransomware. Moreover, there were more than 300 reported cases of phishing attacks and malware outbreaks during the 2019-2020 school year. If you’re concerned about Internet security, you can keep cybercriminals at bay by investing in a VPN, or at the very least, by teaching your child how to make strong passwords. The strongest passwords are random, contain 10 characters or more, and they have a mix of lower and upper case letters, symbols, and numbers. More importantly, passwords must not contain any names, numbers, or words that hackers can relate to your child’s life.
All about protecting their privacy
Some children may be anxious about appearing on camera for their online classes. If your child is uncomfortable with video chatting, get in touch with their teacher and ask if they are required to turn on their video camera during classes. Some teachers allow children to respond only by chat, while some will be alright with having the video turned off as long as they have it on during the first five minutes of the lecture. Find out what will work best for your child and the teacher and work out a way for them to have quality interactions if ever video chatting is an issue.
Meanwhile, if your child has no qualms about appearing on video, you should make it a point to teach them to protect their privacy while they’re on camera. For instance, if you don’t want to broadcast your living space, teach your child to use a digital background. You can also set up a specific spot in your home for online learning, and have it set up in such a way so that all your child’s teachers and classmates will see is a wall, a bookcase, or a curtain behind them while they’re on camera.
Video chatting etiquette
By now, you’ve probably taught your child about proper video chatting etiquette, such as having their mic on mute while the teacher is talking. In addition to this, remind your child to dress appropriately and be well groomed for online classes. They should also make it a habit to keep their remote learning area clean and neat at all times. Moreover, they should never be in bed while they’re taking online classes-- make sure that they’re seated on a comfortable chair throughout their learning sessions.
Being prepared for the 2020-2021 school year is key to ensure remote learning success. Teach your child about internet security to stay safe while they’re online, and be there to help and support them as they navigate a new way to learn during these challenging times.