As schools and businesses across the world are impacted by having to social distance, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is among many turning to Zoom to continue its programs. So many of our families have given positive feedback on the efforts we’ve made to maintain consistency for their children. However, aside from the technological challenges of “retooling the factory” to deliver online classes, we have to remain on the cutting edge to prevent new challenges, including “Zoombombing.”
What Is Zoombombing?
Zoombombing is a practice that has come about in the past few weeks. Internet trolls have been entering Zoom meetings and taking advantage of the program’s feature to share their screen. They often display inappropriate images, hate symbols, and shout expletives. TAYB is researching this development and following guidelines released by Zoom and organizations including the Anti-Defamation League. Thanks to these resources, we’ve put the following precautions in place.
1. We Don’t Share Class Information
This practice is key! The vast majority of Zoombombings have taken place when organizations post a Meeting ID and entry link someplace that can be accessed by the general public. Since day one of our test classes, we have only shared that information with the TAYB family. We share the schedule for our live classes on our website, but without the Meeting ID or entry link, it’s impossible to gain access to these classes. In the reported cases, there is no evidence of hacking to enter these meetings, just mishandled information.
2. Only Teachers Can Screen-Share
Often during classes, the teacher will need to share their screen. This is a valuable tool that can be difficult to use during in-person classes. Through this feature, the teacher can share video clips to provide examples of an exercise or variation. We have manipulated the settings so that only the Zoom “host” has access to this feature. That means that even if someone gained access to the class, they would have no way of broadcasting inappropriate online images or videos.
3. We Have Removed the Ability to Join a Class Before the Host
TAYB has structured its live class schedule to allow teachers gaps between their classes. This means that they will have time to join a class five to ten minutes before the start time. With the feature to join a class before the teacher has joined disabled, someone with the ability to remove Zoombombers will always be in the class. If you’re trying to join a class early and receive a notification that you cannot join until the host has joined, wait a few minutes.
4. File Transfer Is Disabled
Zoom is used for meetings in every industry. Often during these meetings, teams will get together to share work and review it together. You can use file transfer to make a document, image, or video available for download to anyone in the Zoom meeting. Zoombombers have been abusing this feature to spread viruses and inappropriate content. To prevent this from happening, TAYB has disabled this feature altogether. We will only use text and email to distribute files.
5. Removed Guests Cannot Rejoin
The worst case scenario is that TAYB’s class information somehow falls into the wrong hands. We are training the TAYB teachers to be confident with the Zoom controls so that they can remove any Zoombombers. We have made it so that when a participant is removed, they are unable to join again.
Is Zoom Safe?
Like any new technology, we must take the right precautions. We are not waiting for Zoombombing to be sorted out by Zoom’s team. With the above steps currently in place, we are coaching all of TAYB’s teachers to make sure they know how to remove Zoombombers and prevent others from re-entering. While the odds of Zoombombing are extremely low, the risk is too great to handle this lightly.
See our recorded classes and a full schedule of our live classes here.