Using the internet in school or university can be daunting. It always feels like someone is tracking your every online move. Is this really the case, though?
To discover the answer to this question, check out the information below:
Do Schools Have Access to Your Search History?
Yes, schools can have access to your search history if you use a school computer or are using a device that is linked to the school network – the school can’t track your history if you are on your own device and connected to a separate private network.
When Is It Possible for Your School to See Your Search History?
If you are using a computer in your school’s computer lab or are using a device that belongs to the school, then every step that you take can be monitored.
In this instance, your school has complete access to all online activities. As they own both the device and the network, they also have the legal right to search the history.
Deleting your search history off the computer doesn’t guarantee your privacy. It just makes it a little harder for your school to see your search history.
To do this, they may need to contact the internet service provider to get a complete list of what was searched on the network or the device.
Will the School Know Your Search History?
Well, this depends on what kind of protocol you have to follow to use a school computer.
Some schools require you to sign in to the computer lab or library when you do so, you may have to register the computer number that you are using. The school can use this log to determine if you were on a particular device at the time of a certain search.
In some institutions, you have a personal student account and password. This means that you are the only one who can access that account. If you were using this account when you searched for something, then the school can trace it back to you.
On the other hand, if anyone can use any computer by using a general account then it will be a little harder to prove that you made that search. There would have to be irrefutable evidence that you were using that particular device at the time of the search.
Can the School See Your Search History When You are at Home?
This can depend on the device that you are using. If it is a device that has been issued by the school, then it may be possible for them to search your search history.
This will only be possible, though, if the school has installed certain tracking software. If this isn’t the case, the school will not know which sites you visited if you deleted the search history off the device.
If you are using your own personal device, then the school can’t track you as you are connected to your home network. All of your search histories are saved on this network.
You should be aware of whether or not you are using a student account to browse websites, though. If so, the school may be able to legally access your online activity. In this instance, they may be able to see what you have been up to.
Can Your School See Your Search History on Your Phone or Personal Computer?
If you are connected to the school’s network, then the school can see searches that you have run on your personal devices. It isn’t as easy for them to do, though.
In the event that your school doesn’t have total access or control over the internet network, they would have to reach out to their internet provider to get this information.
You should remember that if the phone or laptop belongs to you, then the school has no right to access the device to check the information there.
Unless your school has a court order to search your phone or laptop, then the search is not legal. You can refuse their request and ask for your parents to get involved.
If the school attempts to search your phone despite your wishes, it could be considered a violation of your fourth amendment rights.
How Can You Maintain Your Online Privacy at School?
Well, it is best to rely on your phone’s data plan when you are at school. This way, the school can’t track your internet use. You can use your phone as a hotspot to connect your laptop to your own personal internet.
Just remember that you do have to be careful about your data usage with this method. Unless you are on a data plan, you could end up going through quite a bit of your allocated GB. Thus, this can cost you a lot of money over a long period of time.
You should always be mindful of which account you are using. Sign out of your personal account and use a general one if possible. This will make it more difficult for the school to know that it is your search history.
Should You Use a VPN at School?
A VPN can help to mask your activity. It is also a great way to access websites that your school may have blocked.
VPNs do have several shortcomings, though. For one thing, they use up quite a bit of data and, as such, tend to be a lot slower.
It is also not uncommon for VPN connections to suddenly drop, without your knowledge. When this happens, your school will be able to monitor your search history.
You also have to be careful to choose and use a reputable VPN service. If you don’t, you will unwittingly be providing unscrupulous third parties with access to your personal data. This can cause issues later on.
Can Your School See Your Search History?
It is possible for your school to see your search history if you are using a school computer or device – they will also have access to your history if you are connected to the school network – they can’t track your online movements at home on a personal device, though.