Why is data privacy essential for students, and how can they protect it?


Many adults and teenagers alike use different forms of services that don’t necessarily keep their data private. Also, those at an educational institution need to watch out for additional issues. However, students’ data is often neglected when talking about data privacy.
Either the educators or the pupils themselves enter the students’ information. The educator or the service provider are responsible for keeping this information secure. 
Many online tools can secure anyone’s data or personal information when accessing the internet or any other service. Amongst them, the most popular one is a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. It guarantees data privacy and allows you to access various restricted content from different regions. 
While premium Virtual Private Networks are recommended for online data security and privacy, many free VPN providers can easily match their performance. The three best free VPNs for students’ data privacy may work well enough to suit your needs. 

What can be achieved with students’ information?

While students and their parents could see the education records and private data associated with different students, students or their parents have sometimes gotten access to the school information system to change the educational documents. 
Intruders can easily take control over the education system accounts, looking at their content or sending offensive messages from those accounts to harm their reputations (as we saw happen in two recent cases of students getting access to teachers’ emails).
Just thinking about strangers surrounding our kids in person or online sends a shiver down our spines. Information about the teachers, classmates, family members, and ultimately their email address is easily accessible by social media, so it is a handy way to gain a child’s trust. But getting protected from such threats for a student is not all that hard. All you need is proper guidance to protect your email privacy
Similarly, we should recognize that we can’t manage what happens once the data is lost. Combining the data from multiple sources will only amplify the reach of the information. For example, consider a service that records students’ names and schools, coupled with another service that only records math performance. 
Individually, they have a restricted reach, but they could compare math performance among the classes or even schools when combined.  Also, private data about students or their family members can be used for phishing attempts. This is why students’ information needs to be secure.
What steps can we take for a student’s data privacy?
According to FERPA, COPPA, and California’s SOPIPA, teachers, parents, and students must collectively build universal outlines and rules that everyone in the education community can refer to. 
Once the standards are in place, the community can consider how well the application and services bond to the terms. Also, they can report a definitive problem to developers and reveal this issue to the users. The key here is transparency in sharing information. Teachers and parents are unable to make informed judgments without this. 
The schools can approve multiple different security standards through applications and services. They can also be shared with the students and parents. 
Since parents and students usually do not have enough technical knowledge to evaluate the level of security used for the apps at their school, they can request the school to publish security guidelines and procedures. 
While the parents and educators have the most prominent role in student data privacy, students also need to be educated about cyber grooming tips from an early age to protect their online privacy and data. Training your children to evade different cyber threats early on is more important than you might think.
Please be advised that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the author or his/her sources and do not necessarily reflect those of English Forward. This includes, but is not limited to, third-party content contained on or accessible through the English Forward websites and web pages or sites displayed as search results or contained within a directory of links on the English Forward network.


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