Technology for ESL
Many of us associate data privacy with Gsoc and journalists’ phone calls or Edward Snowden but data privacy is an important issue for all of us and our children.
The explosion of social media means parents now have a role to play in their children’s education that they may never have previously foreseen, a role that I like to call, at least during the primary school years, Data Protector. While the Data Protection Acts give individuals the right to control who has access to their personal data and what use of is made of it, until that individual is capable of giving informed consent, this role is usually carried out by a parent or guardian. And while lots of parents are happy to share photos and updates about their children online, the point at which a child’s data moves into the hands of a third party for the first time is usually at the school gates.
As schools take to Facebook and Twitter to advertise their services, publicize their achievements and communicate with their students and parents, the more personal data of the students may end up online. While most schools act responsibly in obtaining parental consent for the use of photographs online, not all do. Parents in their role as Data Protector should be engaging with schools to find out what data is being collected, what will it be used for, who will have access to it and what is the policy for recording school plays/concerts etc?
Obviously children don’t think of these things as an issue and are happy to pose for a photo or be filmed at the school sports day so it is up to parents to consider these matters on their behalf. Whether parents agree with sharing their child’s personal data online or not, the fundamental thing is for them to be informed and make a conscious decision.
And what happens if children’s tablets get lost? All the information on the tablet will be exposed to strangers. It is important for parents or school administrators to protect data on the lost tablet. It is smart to erase the data on it as soon as the tablet is lost. Because you never know who has found your child’s tablet and what he will do with your child’s information.
There is an easy way to do this, with Anti-theft (mythware.com/anti-theft), the parent or school administrator can spot the tablet and erase all the information on it.