On Sunday, we will celebrate Data Privacy Day—an awareness event focused on educating and arming individuals with the tools necessary to protect their online data and information from cybercriminals and hackers. As long as millions of users connect to the internet everyday, there will always be a hacker waiting to take advantage of vulnerable passwords, account data, or identity information.

As every parent knows, protecting your child is everything, and rightfully so. Did you know children are 50 times more likely to be a victim of identity theft over adults? With nearly 15,000 cases reported annually, more parents than ever before are taking action to defend their children’s data and identity information from cybercriminals. As school districts K-12 introduce technology into the classroom and promote digital curriculums, it’s imperative that students are taught how to use the internet safely, and both parents and educators are taking the necessary precautions to defend the internet data and personal information of every student.

What’s at risk?

Educational institutions and school districts are becoming increasingly common targets for cybercriminals, often leaving educators and concerned parents looking for a solution. With a lack of formal training and cybersecurity policies across educational institutions, the information collected from a student’s browser, location settings, and IP address are commonly used by marketers. However, determined criminals can use the same information to hack vulnerable school IT infrastructure and personal records. When a data breach puts a child’s personal data and information in the wrong hands, it can lead to serious issues or even go unnoticed for many years. In response, victims and their families often turn to identity theft protection services like LifeLock in order to help remediate the issue. However, the proactive measure many parents overlook is the role educators play when it comes to defending a student’s information.

What can educators and vendors do to improve security and protect student information?

Growing concerns about student data privacy can create hurdles for K12 educators working to expand access to edtech and digital innovations. Today’s teachers and administrators need to understand how student personal information is used and improve student privacy protections in order to strengthen parent confidence in digital learning.

iKeepSafe’s training course for data privacy in education provides all K12 education stakeholders – including teachers, employees, administrators, and school board members the tools they need to be aware of privacy concerns and keep students safe.

Data Privacy in Education, an iKeepSafe Educator Training Course includes lessons, videos, video study guides, and an online end of course quiz where educators can test their understanding. Included also is the Facilitator Guide to help administrators or teachers prepare a Student Data Privacy Professional Development Workshop for their school teams.

Additionally, technology vendors play an important role in protecting student data. Anyone who collects data should get an assessment to verify that they’re in compliance with laws such as FERPA and COPPA. This gives educators, parents, and students confidence that their data is used appropriately.

By working with iKeepSafe, a trusted third party, vendors can demonstrate their product’s compliance and responsible privacy, safety, and security practices. This process ultimately allows them to 1) share a full Product Profile with customers, highlighting their privacy, safety, and security practices; 2) summarize their compliance once, not every time a sale is negotiated; and 3) complete a technical assessment – ensuring that the product’s data flows match up to the standards in its privacy policy. Learn more about iKeepSafe’s robust certification process here.

Good habits never go out of style.

When it comes to data privacy, it’s important to remain aware and take proactive action. Education and advocacy go a long way, so if you’re looking to make a change, consider having a technology and internet talk with your family and cover best practices. Discuss the dangers of online scams, hacking, etc. For young children, install web filtering software and enable parental controls to limit tech time. Then, take it a step further and encourage the use of resources like iKeepSafe’s Privacy Training Course or Privacy Certifications for true peace of mind.