- The Washington Times
Monday, April 6, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Do not assume.

Never assume your children are safe while online.


The warning is particularly dire as school systems across the country are closed because of COVID-19 and utilize Zoom and other online video-conferencing apps for distance learning.

Zoom, a publicly traded and remote conferencing company, is headquartered in San Diego, and was founded in 2011. It offers chats, mobile collaborations and online meetings.

Other web portals, including Google Hangouts, Microsoft and WebX, offer similar services.

But D.C., Las Vegas, New York City and other school districts are discontinuing their use of Zoom for online learning.

Why? Harassment, security, privacy and other concerns.

That does not mean parents and government officials should give other online firms a get-out-of-jail free card, however.

Online threats have been the tools for scammers, bullies and predators since, since, well since we’ve been buying personal computers.

Years later, video games and cellphones open the doors for the nefarious even wider.

And home security apps can be scary, too — especially when the voice of a stranger over the speaker scares the heck out of your child or you.

What’s key at this time, though, is that with schools closed, parents must be acutely aware of what youngsters and young adults are actually doing online.

Do you know who has access to your children’s personal information?

Well, parents, it’s not just your child’s school and teachers.

Hackers and lax security and privacy standards see to that.

So, even when you think your child is innocently going over lessons on how to make slime for a grade-school science class beware.

A hacker has far more dastardly deeds on his mind, a pedophile wants a closer look-see or a slime-ball hoodlum wants to display a handgun.

Do not be naive.

Do not assume.

Home schooling in this age of the coronavirus and distance learning means educating yourself, too.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.


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