Social media use in distance learning raises privacy concerns

Dive Brief:

  • Connecting with students over social media raises equity and privacy concerns, The 74 reports. Though social media sites give teachers a convenient way to connect with students, children younger than 13 are prohibited from signing up for many social media platforms because they collect user data, which runs counter to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
  • Students also may not have access to social media or they may have connectivity issues, making content streaming difficult, and the practice can also raise concerns about the potential for educator misconduct. 
  • Parents are concerned about the digital safety of students, as well, according to a report from the Center for Democracy and Technology that found 62% of parents reporting they are at least somewhat concerned about the privacy and security of data collected by schools, and only 40% saying their child’s school explained to them how it protects this information. 
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How do you talk online privacy with kids?

Calls for vigilance about password security and phishing emails are often directed at groups such as those who work from home or seniors.

But as the pandemic pushes more of daily life online, there’s another demographic to consider:


Patrick Craven directs the Clearwater-based Center for Cyber Safety and Education, a nonprofit focused on helping consumers and organizations get up to speed on best digital security practices. It’s part of a global cybersecurity training organization called the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.

Part of the center’s mission is to start this kind of education as young as possible. As October is “Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” Craven spoke with the Tampa Bay Times about how parents can begin to teach their children about staying safe online. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Why is it important to teach kids cybersecurity?

We did a study a few years back and

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