Students' safety is a top concern for all preschool teachers and directors. This goes for the classroom and school yard, and in modern times, certainly online. In fact, with today's fast-paced digital world, preschool leaders need to be more diligent than ever about students' online safety.
As you enter the start of a new school year, consider these top things to remember to keep preschool kids and their information safe online:
Use secure online learning tools
Preschoolers typically spend less time learning on tablets and computers than older kids; however, more and more applications and software targeting this age group are appealing to teachers. If your school opts to use online learning tools, stick to private communities and closed applications to ensure the safety of young students. Whenever possible, teacher-led engagement online should be prioritized. That means preschoolers should never be left to explore the computers alone, and quite frankly, shouldn't be able to access the full internet at all.
Partner with safety-minded companies
Only partner with organizations that have advanced safety protocols. For example, for School Pictures you share a lot of information about students with the company that's taking images of kids. Give yourself and families peace of mind when you use Lifetouch. Not only do photographers have extensive training, each one receives an annual background check. Additionally, the company takes extensive measures to ensure students' personal data remains safe and secure, prioritizing online privacy. What's more, Lifetouch is PCI compliant, which means you can feel confident payment information will remain private.
Get parental permissions every year
Students' images are an important part of your marketing efforts. Whether you're posting them on social media, using them in printed promotional materials or simply adding to the monthly newsletter, it's important to get permission from caregivers before using any student images. An easy way to do this is to send out a permission sheet at the start of each year that asks parents if they are OK if students' images are used in school-related materials. Most parents tend to be fine with this, but it's always good to check annually. Keep a list of students whose families do not wish to have images posted in materials so you can quickly verify at any time.
Be smart with website creation and social outreach
Even if you get permission to post images of students, you must always remain cautious about sharing their information online. For example, unless you get permission, you should never list a child's name under an image. What's more, personal family information should never be put online, including addresses, phone numbers or email addresses. For any type of school directory, make it opt-in for families. Once the directory is complete, only share it internally and between current families. A directory should never be made public or shared with outside people or companies.
With a proactive mindset and a few thoughtful steps, preschool staff can ensure the safety of students at school and online. When in doubt, follow your gut and let common sense lead the way.###Social:Is your preschool students' online safety at risk?Is your knowledge of digital safety for preschools an A+?
Students' safety is a top concern for all preschool teachers and directors. As you enter the start of a new school year, consider these top things to remember to keep preschool kids and their information safe online.