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How to Protect Student’s Online Privacy

— August 7, 2020

In some cases, when a student must use a website or app for school and there is no commercial purpose, Coppa allows schools to exercise consent on behalf of parents.

When it comes to FERPA and online privacy, it’s not just school administrators who need to understand it. Each educator should know what they can or can’t do when teaching their students. This is especially true now with the increase in technology being used in education. 

During the pandemic, all teaching activities are carried out online now. So you should know how to protect student’s online privacy and never compromise on it. 

There are so many new tools and apps. For example, WriteMyPaper4Me offers online professional help with assignments and can be a go-to digital source for many students. To make use of the service, you need to get registered there and provide your personal data. Normally, you need to do this to be able to create an account on all sites out there. 

The thing is that most students have no clue how sites collect, share, and store their data. This article is aimed at shedding more light on how to protect the privacy of students online. 

What Does It Mean to Protect Data Privacy? 

In fact, the U.S. Department of Education informs that it’s your direct responsibility as a teacher or an administrator to take care of student’s privacy when using online educational resources. No matter where student’s records reside, they should still be protected. 

This applies to all data related to individuals, such as their names, birth dates, addresses, emails, social security numbers, grades, financial data, and medical records.

Tips on How to Protect Student’s Online Privacy

Let’s explore some ways that teachers, administrators, and staff can practice good data management when using online educational apps and services.

Students working at a table with coffee, notebooks, and laptops; image by Startupstockphotos, via
Students working at a table with coffee, notebooks, and laptops; image by Startupstockphotos, via
  • Before using educational apps or services, it is important to learn about the variety of federal, state, and local laws imposing requirements and restrictions on how student data can be used and the conditions upon which it can be shared with application developers or online service providers. Feel free to read more about FERPA, COPPA, and PPRA in the section below.
  • A school may provide directory information without consent to third parties, such as service providers, only if they publicly notify parents about its directory information policy. This notice has a number of requirements. Directory information policy must state what personal information is considered directory information. Parents have a right to opt out. 
  • Many schools already have lists of approved apps and technology that you can use in the classroom. If you find an app that isn’t on the list and you want to use it for your lesson, it’s always best to talk to your administration about getting it approved before you let your students enter their data into it. 
  • Your school or district might have a list of tools and media it has vetted and approved already. These tools could include online grade books, a learning management system, or a collaboration tool for you and your students to work together. Remember, it’s always best to check with the administration for a proper setting and evaluation before using a new technology tool. 
  • FERPA may not apply to all the data collected by online service providers. That is why you must pay close attention to written agreements, contracts, and terms of service. 
  • Explain to your students well about their privacy online and how to protect it. Explain to them that it is always better to ask teachers or parents first before using any website, program, or app that they can find online. 


FERPA, COPPA, and PPRA are key privacy laws that can be applied when it comes to student data privacy protection. 

FERPA is a federal law. FERPA stands for the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. It protects the privacy of student records. Most public schools and districts are required by law to comply with FERPA. FERPA restricts how personal information may be released without the parents’ consent. 

FERPA may allow schools to disclose some information such as student name, date of birth, or photos without consent as directory information. This is often done in school yearbooks and athletic programs. 

There are two other regulations that go with FERPA. You should be aware of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA and the protection of the Pupil Rights Amendment or PPRA. Let’s take a closer look at these two Coppa limits on what information a company can gather from children under the age of 13. Companies are also required to obtain consent from a parent before collecting the data. 

In some cases, when a student must use a website or app for school and there is no commercial purpose, Coppa allows schools to exercise consent on behalf of parents. So you, as an educator and other school officials, are allowed to give that consent. 

PPRA restricts how students can be asked for information during federally funded surveys. Parents are allowed to see any materials from the surveys along with FERPA. 

Many states have passed additional student privacy laws. In fact, 39 states have added student privacy law since 2013. Many of these laws were passed to regulate the companies that work with schools and students. 


Hopefully, after reading this article, you learn some key points on how to protect student’s online privacy. Keep in mind that it is always better to double-check everything before taking action. So, never be afraid to ask your administration or consult with a lawyer if necessary. It may prevent negative consequences in the future. 

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