Education: Managing Device Security and Data Protection for Students

August 23, 2018

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was introduced back in May 2018, started a worldwide conversation around data protection, particularly children’s data. The legislation set the age at which a child can consent to their data being processed at 16. Member states can choose to lower that age limit, but only to age 13. The GDPR applies to any companies that do business in Europe, even if they are not based there. That means it affects many of the most popular social media and communication apps.

child using ipad in library in secret, managing student device usage in schools

Tech companies now have a huge responsibility to ensure young people do not access their services before the legal age. However, legislation like the GDPR can only do so much. Responsibility also surely has to fall on both parents and caregivers, as well as educational establishments, to help ensure device security and student data protection.

Why Do We Need to Help Protect Students?

Children have access to technology and the internet (as well as apps) frequently in everyday life. No one rule or regulation is going to stop 100% of youngsters from using social media sites, especially given that according to the GDPR, children under the legal age can still consent to data processing as long as their parents also consent. That could be why Britain’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has found that half of 12-year-old children have social media accounts.

The GDPR also doesn’t prevent general internet use. According to research by broadband expert, children as young as four are potentially being exposed to inappropriate content online because they are using the internet unsupervised. Parents may not know about their usage or may not understand the parental controls they can put in place for younger children. Thus, while parental responsibility is important, schools can also help with student data protection.

How Schools Can Help With Device Security

Depending on the type of device program you run, you may be able to institute your own controls on your devices to help prevent students from accessing certain websites or installing certain apps. If your school runs a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program, you’ll have less control over how students use their devices.

However, physical device security plays an important role in any data protection strategy, given that 41% of data breaches are due to lost or stolen devices Schools can ensure institution-owned tablets or laptops are stored safely away from inquisitive hands when not in use by securing them inside a locked charging station, charging cart or smart locker.

Students’ devices will inevitably lose charge during the day, which means they will likely plug their device into any available outlet they can find, leaving that device vulnerable to theft or breakage. Many schools are offering secure public charging on demand with a smart locker to improve device security. Students are able to securely charge their device during an appropriate time, such as gym class, lunch or recess without worry.

The FUYL Tower Smart Locker is designed to individually store, charge and secure almost any mobile device – including tablets, laptops, mobile phones and more. Through an easy-to-use, secure smart locker system, students can secure their devices until they need to use them.

The FUYL Tower Smart Locker is made up of 15 compartments that throughout a typical day can provide public charging on demand for up to 100 children. The children select an available bay, enter a four-digit PIN of their choice from the digital keypad, and close the door. Their device will be safely charging until they re-enter the same PIN and retrieve their device – leaving the bay available for the next student to use.

The FUYL Tower is unique in what it can do “behind the scenes.” Tower Admins have remote Tower access, where they can see how many locker compartments are occupied or available in real-time. Staff can unlock compartments from a remote location to control the FUYL Tower both on-site and off-site, safely and securely. It also provides an audit trail of time-stamped events. This means that device security does not hinder students’ ability to access devices when they need them for classwork.

The GDPR accelerated the conversation around data protection and has helped to inform mobile device strategies in schools and other organisations around the globe. LocknCharge is prepared to help you implement physical device security solutions that work for your needs. Contact us today to get started.

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