Keeping Your Students Secure with Zoom Privacy Settings
As many teachers move toward online learning and using tools like Zoom, we want to provide recommendations and best practices for keeping yourself and your students safe. The FBI recently weighed in with best practices, and Zoom provides great tips for setting up your meeting or class and ensuring that only your students are present. You want to take these recommendations seriously to avoid any unwanted guests from disrupting your class or sharing inappropriate material.
Below are four recommendations from the FBI with an explanation on why these recommendations are important. You can read the full FBI recommendation here.
In addition, here's a short video from Zoom walking through the various privacy settings you can use:
FBI Recommendations for Zoom Privacy Settings
- “Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: Require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.” In addition, set the meeting ID to generate automatically. Do not use the Personal Meeting ID (PMI). If you use your PMI, anyone can access your meeting at any time, and might be able to launch a meeting on their own. You should also consider setting your class so your students cannot join the meeting and chat with other students before you officially start the meeting. If you set the meeting to allow students to join before the host (you), they will be able to start the meeting at any time, day or night, without you.
- “Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.” If you share the link to your Zoom meeting on social media or an open website, for example, anyone with the link can join your meeting at any time.
- “Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to ‘Host Only.’” This is an important one to set up. If you allow users to screenshare, they can take over your meeting at any point and share their screen and possibly inappropriate material. There are certainly times when you will want to grant screensharing to your students for project sharing, but have this setting restricted at the beginning.
- “Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated its software. In its security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.” This is good advice and practice for all technology you are using. Be sure you are using the most updated software.
Finally, be sure to read Zoom’s tips for keeping your classes and meetings safe. It goes through every setting you should consider for your class setup. It is likely if your school district set up Zoom accounts for you that IT has preset a lot of these settings, however, it is still good practice to log in and verify your setup. You’ll also find these best practices for securing your virtual classroom helpful.
Have additional safety tips to share? Please comment below.
- Download a handout detailing student privacy resources for distance learning here.
- Read this blog on student privacy resources and four additional Zoom features.
- Get information for responding to COVID-19 from AFT.
- Join AFT Share My Lesson’s Remote Learning Community with preK-12 learning resources for educators and parents