With the school year starting up again here in Frisco, both parents and teachers have been under pressure to make learning at home work for everybody. But while E-learning and virtual academy may protect students and their families from potential exposure to Covid-19, some parents are concerned that it could expose their children to a different kind of danger. One mother took to Facebook to share a message she had received from her child’s coach. The message read;
Parents and Athletes, I want to apologize about yesterday’s unwanted visitor. The incident is being investigated by the Frisco PD along with the FISD technology team. My Zoom account settings are updated to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. The safety of our athletes is our top priority. Thank you for working hard yesterday during our workout despite this disturbing event. Please make sure that you continue to sign in to Zoom using your FISD email and password.
Again, I apologize this incident occurred and will do everything in my power to make sure this never happens again.
The “unwanted visitor” refers to what have become known as “Zoombombers”. The Dallas Morning News published an article back in April about this very problem. An excerpt from the article reads:
Do a search for Zoom, and you’ll see that entire school districts have banned the service because of security concerns that include intruders barging in to disrupt meetings. This is happening enough that it has a name: Zoombombing.
Imagine trying to teach a class full of students when suddenly an outsider joins in. Depending on the security settings of the meeting, the intruder can even share his or her screen to the group and display anything he wants.
I’ll let you use your imagination on that one, but it’s easy to understand why school districts are concerned.
And indeed, this very scenario has been raising concerns among parents in the Frisco Independent School District. The mother mentioned earlier expressed concern, not just for what her child might be exposed to, but what the intruder might learn from seeing the faces and names every participant in the Zoom meeting.
“Teachers want our kids to keep the cameras on.” she commented, “I honestly don’t feel comfortable with it anymore.”
Zoom does include security measures to prevent incidents like this from happening. Meeting passwords, and waiting rooms in which participants may only be allowed to enter upon the approval of a moderator can go a long way toward protecting the privacy of these meetings. Another parent, commenting on the event, noted;
We were sent emails from FISD saying no student would be accepted into the meeting if they didn’t have their full name on the Zoom account and they had to be using their school accounts, to prevent this from happening. All teachers and coaches need to be following those safety guidelines and only accept legitimate students in the class.