Beware the “Phantom Bombers”

Beware the

Jainayah Madeus, Reporter

     Due to a worldwide pandemic, we have had to make many changes in our daily lifestyles. This ranges from wearing masks to go out, to getting our temperature checked to enter certain places. One of the bigger changes being that schools globally have had to switch to virtual learning instead of physical classrooms. The transition between the two proved to be a hard adjustment for both teachers and students alike. There have been many complications such as some students not having the needed technology, some not having internet, and even more saying it was harder for them to complete and understand school lessons/assignments with virtual learning. As if this wasn’t enough for the school staff to be dealing with, a new problem became a big problem: zoom bombing. You’re probably familiar with the term because you’ve experienced them yourself. 

    Zoom bombing is when someone intrudes in an online meeting and causes a disruption which usually ends with the meeting having to get shut down if the ‘Zoom Bomber’ can’t be kicked out of it. Even though the term “zoom bombing” is named after Zoom (the video conferencing software that the majority schools started virtual learning with), zoom bombing has happened on almost all online meeting platforms, including Google Meet, which our very own West Boca High uses. While most schools have only had to deal with internet trolls who do no more than yelling, cursing, and spamming, (which is still very disruptive), some have had to witness bombers who’ve displayed explicit imagery/videos, racist slurs, and extremely hateful content made by hate groups. (Not only schools, but businesses, companies, and any other platforms trying to meet online.)

    When something like this happens while you are trying to learn it distracts you during and even after the meeting, it slows the teaching process when the meeting has to get shut down, makes it even harder on the students who were already struggling with online school, and adds stress to the staff who try to stop this from happening while continuing to teach their many classes. Zoom bombing is not only extremely harmful to people’s learning but also their feelings. Being a part of one of these targeted groups, whether it’s by race, religion, or even sexuality can affect someone more than you might think so. This only makes school harder for them.

    Having these bombers drop in on a meeting is really harmful to everyone so everybody needs to help keep classes going smoothly. For students, you can do this by keeping your meeting information within that specific class only and not posting links online. For teachers, you can make your meeting private, require passwords to get in the meeting, and have your classroom setting to where only the host can screen share without permission to prevent people from being able to display anything unwanted. Our school isn’t innocent when it comes to zoom bombing, but now to get into classes you must have a student email to be allowed into the meeting which helps filter any unwanted outsiders from getting into them and allows staff to easily see who someone is if a student decided to disrupt another class. 

    We’ve already had to deal with so much because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so let’s all try to make our learning situation a bit better for each other by keeping our classes a safe learning environment for everyone.