Protecting Students Online

School closure this Spring left more than 50 million students from kindergarten through 12th grade across the U.S. out of the classroom. States across the U.S. shut down their schools, leaving around 90% of students at home in mid-April. Some districts opted to end the academic year early. Technology will continue to be used to deliver education remotely because of the social distancing guidelines. With the start of school in August, local authorities across America are looking for reliable platforms to deliver education. Technology organizations looking to fill in that educational gap must provide adequate privacy protections.

Privacy issues for children accessing the internet are distinct from the data collection and use issues relevant for adults. The reasons for this distinction include that young children may not understand what data is being collected about it and how it is used. As a general rule, children cannot sign binding contracts, and thus meaningful consent to the collection and use of data must be obtained from parents. 

The Children Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) requires organizations obtain verifiable parental consent before engaging children under 13 years old. COPPA requires that websites provide a privacy policy and disclose whether childrens’ information is shared with third parties. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires personal students’ personal information be protected in a manner that restrict access only for educational uses. Because of FERPA, schools must require that business associates limit their use of students’ information to educational purposes. 

Moving forward, organizations looking to work with local schools must abide by COPPA and FERPA. This could allow an organization stand out amongst the crowd. Not doing so can seriously stunt an organization’s growth.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Appolo Compliance is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. For legal advice, please contact a lawyer.

Published by apollocompliance

Jean-Marc is a law student interested in cybersecurity and data privacy law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *