Featured Story – September 2018

Tips for Making Sure Private Information Stays Private – at School and Everywhere

Like it or not, it’s that time of year again. We’re hanging on to every last minute of summer while preparing for a new school year to begin – from new shoes and backpacks to notebooks and pens to dorm room décor.

You may have class rosters and sports registration on the brain, but protecting your child’s personal information is also very important, whether they’re going into preschool or their last year of college.

Here are a few ways you can help keep their identity safe.

Safeguard Social Security Numbers

You should keep your child’s Social Security card at home in a fireproof lock box. Don’t carry it with you, and don’t share it unless you know you can trust the other party. There shouldn’t be any reason why a school would need that information, so don’t feel embarrassed to ask why it’s necessary. If administrators do have a legitimate reason, ask if you can provide only the last four digits.

Limit What Is Shared

Teach kids not to post their full name, address or date of birth on any social media site. Take the time to sit down and have a conversation about social networking and privacy.

Use Strong Passwords

You should also teach children to create strong passwords, change them often, and never share them with anyone. This is important for everyone, particularly college students living in a dorm or sharing other spaces.

Two-factor authentication is a relatively new security measure that uses text messages to confirm logins and password resets. It’s a good idea to turn that feature on whenever possible. Also, sign up for account alerts so you can become aware of suspicious activity as soon as possible.

Know Your Rights

FERPA is the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act that protects the privacy of student records, and gives parents certain protections when it comes to the sensitive information contained in report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact information and class schedules.

As a parent, you have the right to review your child’s education records and request changes under limited circumstances. To protect your child’s privacy, the law generally requires schools to ask for written consent before disclosing your child’s personally identifiable information to individuals other than you.

The law also requires schools to notify parents and guardians about their school directory policy, and gives you the right to opt out of sharing contact information with third parties, including other families.

Check Credit Reports

You should check whether your child has a credit report somewhere around their 16th birthday. That way, you’ll have time to un-do any potential damage related to fraud or misuse before your child goes to apply for a job, secure a loan or rent an apartment.  

If you feel your child’s right to privacy has been violated in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Plan Law Firm and schedule a consultation.


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