Let’s face it, online-only school during this pandemic is a really weird situation, for both us as guardians and parents, aunts and uncles, but worst of all, for our kids.
While we’re busy looking for ways to make online learning easier – setting up miniaturized schoolrooms, setting up controlled Wi-Fi, taking away gaming consoles and phones during the day – we’re bound to leave a few blind spots open – not because we aren’t trying, but because we’re new to all of this!
Parents have reason to be cautious – we’re seeing news stories every day of Zoom class meetings being hacked, hijacked, or Zoombombed. What’s a zoombomb? No, it isn’t a new high-priced candy, it is exactly what we fear – the hijacking, hacking, or disrupting of a Zoom meeting – usually with spammed images and videos designed to scare, gross out, or harass the room’s participants.
Teach your student:
- Don’t open unwarranted links – Compare it to the being careful looking at sites online talk
- Don’t enter strange video calls – Compare it to the not opening the door to strangers talk
- Always ask if there are concerns – Compare it to the always seek help from adults talk
- Don’t video chat with anyone you don’t know – Compare it to the not talking with strangers talk
Got an email or message that doesn’t seem legit? Just like any other time, at home or work, it is best to call the person on the other end to verify the message is legitimate. No texts or emails! Those can be spoofed if the person’s device has been hacked.
Common warning signs:
- Misspelled words
- Names or places spelled differently
- Odd-looking domain names attached to the origin address
- The email was sent from an email account not known to be associated with the sender
- The email contains invitations to download software or fill in information.
School computers come pre-installed with most of the basic security protections needed, include site blockers and email scanning software, however, as we know as parents, teachers, and guardians – these protections are far from perfect.
Got more concerns? Then it is best to call the school and have them contact their IT department, as they will have the tools, permissions, and means to investigate.