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Teaching Tech Hygiene: Digital Cleanliness Practices for Students



Students using laptops

There are few areas of modern life that aren’t in some way supported by technology. For all the advantages this offers today’s students, cybercrime is a worrying and destructive influence. It’s putting student privacy at risk, can disrupt their home lives, and affect professional performance later down the line.


It’s imperative, then, for you to offer students guidance on good tech hygiene. While hackers have a lot of sophisticated tools at their disposal, even some relatively simple practices and knowledge can empower students to thrive in the digital realm. Let’s look at a few areas of focus it’s worth focusing on.


Establishing Good Basic Habits


Perhaps the most important aspect of teaching students digital hygiene is to instill good basic habits. The simpler and more integrated into real life you can make these actions, the better a foundation for adoption they’ll have.


What do we mean by the basics? Some of the practices to focus on include:


  • Good password practices: These should include regular changes, use of complex passphrases, and multi-factor authentication, among others.

  • Backing up files: Regularly backing up, both in physical media and to the cloud, prevents files becoming irretrievable in an attack.

  • Recognizing and avoiding hacking methods: For instance, recognizing emails from unknown parties that could suggest phishing techniques are being used.


Teaching students about these basics in a way that encourages them to adopt effective measures can be challenging. You may find it useful to start with practical demonstrations of how to best apply digital hygiene basics. Such hands-on activities don’t just help to show students how they can adopt protections into their routines. They also help make certain learners who aren’t comfortable or confident with theoretical learning practices can stay safe online. 


Interactive exercises can also be useful ways to pass on the basics. For instance, you could gamify sessions about phishing methods by challenging learners to spot suspicious signs in different emailed messages and emphasize the importance of being vigilant.


Providing Reasons for Vigilance


One of the challenges of teaching students digital cleanliness is that it can come across as yet another set of rules they’re expected to follow. Part of the key to adoption is not just saying what they need to be vigilant about but explaining why protective actions help them, to help them make informed decisions.


This is particularly wise for protocols that require a little more attention. For instance, devices with cameras or video management systems (VMS) require significant cybersecurity awareness to protect against hackers using these insecure gateways to breach systems. It’s important to provide an understanding of why protocols like device hardening and patch management are effective in preventing these issues.


Device hardening involves changing the factory passwords on hardware, because leaving these items on default settings makes them easier to breach. Downloading security patches for devices and software periodically is important, too, because developers are constantly upgrading to address previously unseen gaps in device security.


If simply explaining the reasons students should be vigilant isn’t effective, you might find it helpful to provide some examples of how these risks have arisen in the real world. Students today are often surrounded by devices with cameras in multiple aspects of their lives, so a good example may be the recent issues surrounding doorbell cameras. People whose home cameras had inadequate security protocols experienced breaches of privacy. 


Fostering Future Readiness


The fact is that technology is advancing rapidly. The security threats that students face today may not be the same as those they experience in the years to come. That means a vital part of teaching tech hygiene is to foster a sense of future readiness.


Perhaps the simplest method is to encourage them to be curious about technological developments. As digital natives, technology is already a common part of students’ lives. Alongside, getting them excited about new tools being used, discuss the potential security challenges they pose. For instance, the next generation will need to solve challenges surrounding the influence of artificial intelligence (AI). You can also highlight the importance of boosting resilience by purchasing forward-compatible technology, which helps to keep security protocols consistent and user-friendly.


You can’t predict the future and provide your students with all the answers now. Nevertheless, engaging their curiosity and stimulating conversations or debates about potential challenges is a good start. 


Conclusion


Digital cleanliness helps students adopt practices that protect them from online threats. This should involve the integration of basic practices alongside empowering them to think critically about the future challenges they may face. Additionally, it’s wise to collaborate with parents on this hygiene education. Consider encouraging them to adopt similar practices at home and making security a topic of conversation. Your expertise and encouragement could help students in a variety of ways, as it will not only make them more technologically literate, but it can also help keep their information secure.

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2 Comments


loinse bekean
loinse bekean
3 days ago

The variety of genres in Heardle is fantastic. Heardle is the perfect mix of fun and challenge.

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Nicholson Percy
Nicholson Percy
4 days ago

You cannot forecast the future and give students all the answers now. However, sparking curiosity and discussing potential issues is a geometry dash breeze wonderful start.

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