Take my child off the school website? New student image web app manages usage rights and parents’ demands for privacy
It’s the nightmare phone call that keeps principals up at night in this era of parents’ demands for privacy, ‘take my child’s photo off the school website!’
As school administrators well know, images of children that risk identifying them, should not be published without explicit consent from the child as well as their parent or guardian.
And while some parents take a relaxed attitude to sharing images of their children online, others have become worried by insights from our national Children’s eSafety Commissioner, who has revealed predator sites exist containing child exploitation material in which innocent images are presented in folders named thematically, such as “kids at beach”, “nice boys play in river”, “gymnasts”.
This new era of growing awareness about the need for privacy is building on work by the Australian Law Reform Commission, which clearly detailed the need for school policies to be clearer in relation to managing student information in the form of photos and videos.
With that background, why are some schools still struggling to comply with parents’ demands for privacy?
We think it is due to a combination of the sheer volume of digital images being taken at school and the heavy, manual workload that it produces in sorting the material, leading to human error when it comes to cross-referencing images with usage rights.
This is why the SchoolBench™ web app can play an important role in restoring restive sleep to school principals.
Social media savvy is fueling parents’ demands for privacy
Parents like Alexia Purcell, who works in social media for News, has been championing the voice of concerned parents through articles published nationwide this year.
This quote from her opinion piece, My battle to stop photos of my son being posted online, distills the core concerns many parents share.
Say the school takes a photo of my son and another child playing. They use the photo in the report they send to that other child’s parents. That other child’s parents then think ‘hey, what a great pic, I’ll save that and share it on Facebook’. And just like that, my son’s photo is out there on social media without my consent or knowledge to end up God knows where.
In Alexia’s case, her school used her concerns about giving permission to use her child’s photos, to create new policies and procedures.
And as more schools follow suit to diligently respect the wishes of parents, technology will be needed to make the complex challenge manageable and reliable.
How SchoolBench™ helps schools manage images & privacy
The key to managing parents’ demands for privacy with school images is to use a system that holds and flags usage rights with each photo and video being stored.
With SchoolBench™, digital assets can be uploaded in bulk and the system uses image metadata and facial recognition to identify:
- Which students are in each image
- What class they are in (along with other relevant school categories)
- What level of usage rights the school has for the image containing this child
By using SchoolBench™, the task of sorting, and the follow-up task of cross-referencing images with usage rights from parents, takes minutes compared to hours.
From a school board or school administration perspective, we’ve heard that while the efficiency gains for school staff are important, the peace of mind for accurately complying with parental wishes is invaluable.
Our developers at Parashift work with ITC staff everyday, so SchoolBench™ has been engineered to respect the demands of school IT personnel by making it deployable on premise to ensure security and auditing, and cross platform so it can run in the most common environments.
In short, SchoolBench™ is the most effective antidote to date for dealing with anxiety borne of managing the privacy demands of parents and helping school principals and administrators get a sound night’s sleep.
Parashift is poised to work closely with your school to explore if and how SchoolBench™ can be safely and securely implemented. Contact us for a demonstration.