Essential Tools for Protecting Student Privacy Online


Protecting student privacy and making sure online environments are safe and secure is a very big deal. We have digital landscapes that are constantly evolving and students who are more and more confident exploring online without instruction or supervision. The below five tools are not just a starting point to help your students manage and maintain their online privacy, they should be the beginning of an ongoing discussion detailing the importance, consequences and risks associated with online privacy and security.

In Practice

1. LastPass – Manage and store passwords

Creating, maintaining and managing safe and secure passwords is a lengthy lesson in its own right. LastPass is a tool used by millions to not only simplify the password management process but to add a level of security that is difficult to put in place manually. The tool will help students save and centralize their passwords as well as take care of some of the most common bad habits many of us have when setting up passwords.

2. Two-Step Verification – Strengthen security

Two-step verification is not a tool in itself, it is a process that many security conscious services (Google, Apple, Facebook, more) have now put in place. The verification process provides an additional level of security by requesting a pin code that is sent to the users phone. Encourage your students to use two-step verification where possible as the additional verification makes it near impossible for fraudulent or malicious users to hack into personal accounts.

3. MyPermissions – Control access to personal information

MyPermissions is an excellent tool to help clarify student privacy settings and is a great conversation starter on personal data access. A free tool for browsers and phones (iOS and Android), MyPermissions collects and displays every app, site and service that has access to your personal data. This tool is a real eye opener for students as well as being an essential way to track what data they have made public and private.

4. Skitch – Blur photos and text

Skitch is a very cool annotation and image editing tool that we have discussed before. While it has many uses beyond protecting student privacy, the image blurring feature offers a very quick and easy way to add privacy to student photos and documents. Blurring can be used to hide personal details if posting screenshots or text as well as hide identities of individuals who may not want their face posted online.

Skitch Blurred

5. Adblock Plus – Limit advertising and

Depending on the sites your students frequent, advertisements can vary from trivial distractions to deceiving privacy threats. Adblock Plus is a browser plugin that students can install to hide advertisements from the sites they visit. The tool is heavily customizable so that trustworthy domains can be whitelisted if required.


Links and Next Steps


Skitch image courtesy of Flickr, LyleSMU102. Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Nathan O’Nions.

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