The digital arena has become a familiar stomping ground for modern youth. Libraries? Seldom frequented by today’s students, they are bypassed in favor of instant online solutions. Dictionaries gather dust while the answers to a student’s query lie snug within the virtual folds of the internet, accessible with a mere click.
The lion’s share of a child’s life unfolds online. Education, friendships, and uncharted modes of learning – all a few keystrokes away in this internet realm. Homework now often requires an internet connection, with students navigating digital waters solo.
Nevertheless, lurking in the web’s shadows are risks we cannot dismiss. Schools near the weighty charge of shielding their pupils in-house and imparting wisdom about the online world’s inherent perils. Let’s talk about school Wi-Fi security, and IP address basics, and give some tips to help improve security.
Potential Risks School Network
It is worth noting that student online safety is at risk when using any public Wi-Fi network, and school Wi-Fi is no exception.
- Grooming involves manipulative tactics that lead to sexual activities online, such as the sharing of explicit images or risky encounters on a webcam. Perpetrators might even aim for a real-life meeting with their victims.
- Child Sexual Exploitation, often shortened to CSE, encompasses a range of abusive acts. These acts can include grooming behaviors, distribution of explicit content, and various forms of extortion for sexual purposes.
- Online spaces can also be arenas for bullying and harassment. Data reveals that cyberbullying affects about one-fifth of children annually, and online abuse inflates this statistically significantly.
- Scams and phishing attempts are rampant in digital play areas and popular sites among children. Given that children might not be as suspicious or aware of the threats posed by online communication, they are susceptible to deceitful schemes.
What can someone do with your IP? Much of bullying, grooming, and even scamming requires hackers to know the victim’s IP address. The situation is quite dangerous when IP address lookup hackers find out the real IP address and begin to pursue it. These are just some of the potential consequences associated with IP address disclosure; you can read more at the link above.
Internet Safety Tips
#1 Check the Legitimacy of the Network
Imagine this: a scammer sets up a seemingly benign network. Every day, countless students might log in. The scammer’s device, although simple, might be monitoring your activity, waiting to swipe your precious data.
Scammers utilize off-the-shelf tech savvy enough to capture your key inputs – potential leads to data theft. This risk spotlights the importance of network verification. Be wise: make sure that the Wi-Fi network is authentic.
#2 Use VPN
VPNs primarily shield your online movements. Picture this: you’re at school, surrounded by countless other students and teachers, all tapping into the same Wi-Fi. Despite its convenience, this school network may be akin to an unlocked treasure chest for hackers due to subpar defenses.
Sure, we can’t peek inside the router’s security protocols. Instead of relying on default network security, it is smarter to download a VPN to your device or browser. A VPN acts like a secret tunnel for your data, leaving potential cyber threats grasping at straws.
#3 Use TOR Browser
Are you in search of enhanced privacy while browsing? Enter the world of Tor Browser, paired with a VPN, though be prepared for a reduction in speed. This network is architectured for user anonymity, cleverly passing your internet traffic through a labyrinth of servers globally.
Are there potential drawbacks? Indeed, with heightened cybersecurity, several educational institutions have now barred Tor traffic, potentially leaving you right where you started. Additionally, there’s an unwarranted stigma around Tor usage, implying nefarious undertakings. Therefore, judicious use is highly recommended.
#4 Don’t Share Important Information on the School Network
To avoid potential data misuse, consider registering for public Wi-Fi networks with an alternate email address rather than your primary one to prevent companies from storing or utilizing your personal information for marketing.
What about users who frequently utilize their phone’s hotspot feature? It’s worth considering a dedicated mobile hotspot router.
It’s common for certain networks to prompt the creation of a password. In such instances, it is crucial to refrain from reusing passwords associated with other important accounts, especially those linked to your email. By taking this measure, the fallout from any potential password breaches is contained, as your most critical accounts remain inaccessible.
While connected to public Wi-Fi, always be conscious of the data you share. Avoid transactions or communications that include confidential information like usernames, passwords, or banking details on such unsecured networks.
Given the open nature of public Wi-Fi networks, there’s a risk of your activities being exposed to unauthorized observers, especially on sites that haven’t adopted HTTPS. It’s worth noting, that even with HTTPS, not all websites are wholly secure. When entering any personal information online, it’s important to be vigilant.
Part of the school’s cyber security awareness strategy should be devoted to understanding cyber risks and skills to minimize them. This article provides basic information about potential risks to children and ways to reduce them. None of the solutions require complex manipulations but can maintain user anonymity and security on various public Wi-Fi networks.