Cyber safety and classroom security

Today’s students are more connected than ever before.

While devices, apps and internet connectivity allow school children to engage with syllabus material and pursue their own passions and interests, they also open the door to a range of potential issues.

With artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality commonplace, and laptops and handheld devices becoming more powerful, the prevalence of technology in the classroom will only continue to grow.

Keeping students and devices safe

With students and staff gathering and submitting data and information through a combination of secured and unsecured networks, schools are exposed to three main types of attacks:

•Trojan: also known as a Trojan horse, is a type of malware that is disguised as legitimate software that can give cybercriminals access to your devices and personal information.

•Adware: scripts hidden in online advertising so that when an advertisement is clicked, malware is downloaded to the user’s computer.

•Ransomware: malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Schools that haven’t implemented programs and systems to protect their networks are particularly vulnerable to these threats.

Fostering good digital citizenship

In their last census, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed that people aged 15 to 17 years were the highest proportion of internet users at 98%. This is just one reason why it’s important for students to develop the right skills to reduce the risks of unwanted cyberattacks and learn to be mindful of how they engage with others on digital platforms.

To become good digital citizens, students need to learn fundamental concepts such as:

•understanding what a digital footprint is and how to develop and protect theirs

•the use of privacy settings and how to identify higher risk websites and platforms

•how to protect their devices from cyberattacks

•generating safe usernames and secure passwords to protect their information, and

•how to communicate and collaborate effectively online.

In their 2016 White Paper, the International Society for Technology in Education warns that “giving students devices without context does more harm than good”. It recommends that parents and teachers encourage discussion about appropriate behaviour on and offline. This may be achieved in many ways, including the development and delivery of a “robust digital citizenship curriculum” and ensuring students are provided with a current guide for online behaviour.

Learn more about how Teachers Mutual Bank keeps its members safe at: