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Keeping Safe Online – Essential information for Parents and Carers

For obvious reasons, online video calling and video conferencing applications have become very popular and busy recently.

They have a great many uses and are used by millions of people all over the world – but they do come with a range of issues that we would encourage you to think about.

The biggest issue is about privacy and security, and one of the most popular applications, Zoom, has one of the worst reputations for these things.  From claiming that its video calls were encrypted and then having to admit that they were not, to having particular security issues allowing third parties to hack Apple products using Zoom, to more ‘straightforward’ issues like ‘zoombombing’ – uninvited third parties arriving in group chats and using inappropriate behaviour or language or sharing inappropriate content.

Singapore has banned schools from using Zoom and the US Congress have stopped using it for virtual meetings, both because of security concerns Microsoft Teams and Skype – which work together with each other – is one more secure option. Others (which are only useful if everybody involved in the chat can agree to use them together, obviously – one of the big positives of Zoom is that it is readily available online and open to anyone to easily use) include ‘Jitsi Meet’ or ‘Signal’.

So if you and your children are looking for video calling and conferencing applications to start to use, it might be a good idea to look beyond the most popular ‘Zoom’ and explore some of the more secure options.