Do you feel as though you’ve had a bit of a crash course in using Zoom recently? If you’ve never had a job where you’ve had to hold online meetings, I imagine it can be a bit daunting to suddenly have to hold Zoom meetings, especially if you have a lot of children attending! And if you have had to explain to your kids how to use Zoom for school work that can also be a challenge. Have you even had time to think about how to hold safe Zoom meetings?
Whether you’re an adult or child, it’s always important to make sure you know how to stay safe online and protect your privacy. I’ve used Zoom for a few years now, both for 1-1 video calls, large group meetings and presentations, and confidential conversations, and have picked up a few tips along the way.
If your kids are using Zoom for school work or you’re a teacher holding classes online, here are 10 tips to hold safe Zoom meetings for kids, whether you are a child, a parent or a teacher…
Lock your meetings
If you’re setting up a meeting then locking the meeting means that no one can get in, even if they have the meeting ID number and password. This is a good idea to make sure that no one outside of the invited attendees has managed to get hold of the email invite and let themselves into your meeting.
To lock your meeting you simply wait until after all everyone has joined, go to the bottom of the screen click Participants > More > Lock Meeting.
Don’t forget to check the names in the participant list before locking.
Remove unwanted participants
Hopefully you won’t get people joining the meeting who shouldn’t be there, but if you do it is easy to remove them without any hassle.
If you forgot to lock your meeting or if a student is messing around and you want them to leave, you can do so by clicking Participants at the bottom of the screen, then on the right hand panel, hover over the participant you want to kick out > click More > click Remove.
Disable private chat
If you are teaching a virtual class you want the kids to stay focused on the lesson. Disabling the private chat option is always a good idea to help stop distractions.
To turn off the private chat you need to go to the bottom of the screen, click Chat > in the right hand panel click on the three dots in the bottom right corner > under Participants Can Chat With, click No One or Host Only.
Use the mute option
It’s hard to hear what people are saying and to stay focused when you can hear background noises or when a chatty child keeps interrupting. The mute option allows you to mute individuals or the whole group.
To mute people you need to click on Participants at the bottom of the screen, then at the bottom of the right hand panel, you will find the option Mute All. If you click on More you can also choose to Mute Participants on Entry. This way you can un-mute attendees as and when they need to speak.
If you’re a parent, be mindful that your child’s teacher might not have put their class on mute, so be careful what you say in the background!
Disable screen sharing
If you have lots of kids attending a Zoom meeting you probably don’t want them to be able to share their screen with the whole class, whether on purpose or by accident.
You can easily disable screen sharing by clicking Security at the bottom of the screen, then under Allow participants to uncheck Share Screen.
Set your own meeting ID and password
A personal meeting ID stays the same and is a recurring meeting so it’s easy for any unwanted guests to join if they have seen an email invite in the past. Instead you can create your own random meeting ID and set up a strong password that is hard to guess.
As with all password choose something that is more than 8 characters long, has capital letters and lowercase letters, and also includes a random character such as ! or &.
This is also a really good thing to remember if you’re setting up virtual parties or events for your kids and their friends.
Install the latest version of Zoom
Always make sure you have the latest version of Zoom installed so you have access to the latest security features. You’ll see a pop-up screen when an update is available for download so make sure you don’t put this off until later.
If you’re a teacher it’s a good idea to remind the parents of your students that it is important to download updates as well.
Let everyone know when you’re recording
If you’re recording the class you should always let students and parents know. When recording a class remember not to have the gallery on show where you can see all the children’s faces on the screen.
If you or your child is attending a virtual class and see a red dot this means that the class is being recorded.
Don’t share to social media
Remember not to share photos or screenshots of the online class to social media. If you are a teacher let students and parents know this is not allowed.
This way you can make sure the class is private and students’ names and photos aren’t made public.
Allow the kids to rename themselves
If you want to add an extra level of privacy you can allow attendees to use an alias such as their initials or a shortened version of their name.
You can allow this by clicking Security on the bottom menu > Under Allow participants to click Rename themselves.
Don’t forget to remind the students to let you know what they have changed their name to in case it isn’t obvious. As a parent you might also want to double check that you’re child’s Zoom name is classroom friendly!
Hopefully these tips to hold safe Zoom meetings for kids have given you some new settings to try. Have you learnt any other Zoom tips recently?