Michele Polacsek publishes article on parents' perceptions of privacy for school-issued devices

Michele Polacsek is a co-author of a new article published in 'The BMJ'
Michele Polacsek, Ph.D., M.H.S.

Michele Polacsek Ph.D., M.H.S., professor of public health and director of the UNE Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH), published an article titled “Parents’ Perceptions of Privacy Policies and Practices for School-Issued Digital Devices: Implications for School Practices” in the Journal of School Health.

Digital technology and digital devices such as laptops and tablets have become a central component of schooling. The publication reports findings of a study that aimed to explore parents’ perceptions of the school’s role in keeping their child’s data protected.

Five hundred and seventy-one (571) parents of K-12th grade children, recruited nationally, were surveyed on their perceptions of their children's digital privacy on school-issued digital devices. Most (80.7%) children used a school-issued device, and 66.6% took one home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents rated policies for preventing the collection and sharing of data “very important.” However, 35% of parents did not know if their school had any digital policies to protect their children’s privacy. Most (56%) parents “strongly agreed” their child's school protected student digital privacy and 68% felt schools were the most responsible party to do so, yet those ratings differed by parent awareness of privacy policies (p < .05).

Authors concluded that parents consider digital privacy policies highly important and perceive schools to be responsible for such protections, highlighting the need to support schools in protecting students’ data privacy.