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Some voicing concerns over children using cameras during at-home schooling

Posted at 6:52 AM, Sep 02, 2020

With many students back at school, some are voicing concerns over cameras.

As students learn remotely in some capacity, cameras extend the classroom-environment outside the school.

“It creates the real possibility that anybody accessing the feed can make, again can capture a clip, can capture the whole session, and use it in a way that isn't in the teacher's or the student's best interest,” said Bill Fitzgerald, a privacy researchers with Consumer Reports.

Fitzgerald says we're not just talking about the potential for hacking. Someone who is supposed to be in the virtual lesson could use it in a way that's harmful. A struggling student could be made fun of or one with a disability could be stigmatized.

Educators could face additional pressures at a time when there's been calls to monitor teaching.

Fitzgerald is also worried about students being forced to keep cameras on at all times. That raises a host of concerns over privacy and privilege.

“If people were told that as a prerequisite of their legally required public education, they had to allow people into their home at any point, that wouldn't stand,” said Fitzgerald. “And requiring a student to put their camera on is somewhat equivalent to allowing somebody into your home.”

Fitzgerald says there are still good ways to use this technology in class, like video for sharing chunks of lessons, while using live cameras more as a way to build relationships.

He also suggests listening to what teachers say they need and providing them additional support whenever possible.