In September, Google implemented changes that restricted access to their suite of products for those under the age of 18. Originally created in response to pressure from the US government to take more responsibility for how children and teenagers access their platforms, the restrictions have seen those under the age of 18 lose access to Google’s products altogether.
In Australia, those most impacted by Google’s age restriction changes are schools utilising Google Workspace in the education of their students. You see, under Google’s new age restrictions the only way for students under the age of 18 to access Google’s suite of products is by having parental permission or by lying about their ages.
Since Australia is currently in the middle of their school term, both options present a time-consuming challenge that can feel overwhelming to tackle.
Luckily, MOQdigital is here to help. As your resident team of IT experts, we wanted to break down exactly what Google’s changes to age restrictions may mean for you as an educator and how you can overcome these challenges with a little bit of help from Microsoft.
Intrigued? Keep reading to find out more!
How Google’s Age Restriction Changes Affect Schools
Kicking in from the 1st of September 2021, Google mandated that, for Google Workspace for Education, all users not designated as 18 and over are automatically given an age-restricted experience.
While the full list of what students can and can’t do under these new age restrictions can be found here, there are a few highlights we thought you as an educator should be aware of. These include:
- Students no longer being able to access YouTube livestreams
- The loss of access to Youtube entirely without parental consent being obtained and verified by Google
- The complete loss of access to Google Earth Studio
- The loss of access to Google Maps timeline
- SafeSearch being turned on by default for all Google Workspace for Education users under the age of 18
We mentioned it before, but Google has implemented these age restrictions as a blanket policy across all their applications and programs. This means that the only work-around available at the moment is to falsify the ages of your students to be over 18, or to get parental permission for each individual student and verify it with Google.
With many schools utilising Google’s applications as an integral part of their lesson plans, these restrictions have really put a spanner in the works – without much support from Google on how to best adapt.
So, what exactly can you as an educator do about it? Why, by making the jump to Microsoft of course!
Introducing Microsoft 365: A Complete Google Replacement
Microsoft currently offers a complete suite of products and applications that deliver the same technical capability as Google’s collection through the Microsoft 365 Suite.
Plus, Microsoft is focused on ensuring data security is at the core of every application they design, enabling your students to be protected from digital ne’er-do-wellers without sacrificing the enrichment to their learning experience that technology can provide. Think of it like this: where Google’s suite of products are a public service, Microsoft’s are private and enjoy all the benefits of being so.
Microsoft also houses their private data servers within Australia, making them subject solely to Australia’s data sovereignty laws. This means that every decision they make regarding Microsoft 365 takes into account the needs of you as an educator in Australia, unlike Google’s US-centric tendencies.
Finally, Microsoft is also dedicated to listening to and learning exactly what you need from your IT programs and infrastructure to better improve your teaching experience. That’s why they have dedicated Microsoft specialists who work directly with Australian schools to learn how they can improve their suite of products to better suit your needs as an educator.
Want to know more? We can help!
At MOQdigital, we understand that making any transition can seem daunting – especially when you add in the pressure that Google’s changes to their age restrictions have forced on many Australian schools. That’s why we wanted to take the time to let you know that we’ve helped schools just like yours successfully make the transition from Google to Microsoft.
Our experience means that we’re uniquely positioned to understand the challenges you may face and can help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
If you’re ready to make the switch from Google to Microsoft 365, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to help you get started.
Keeping all the functionality of Google’s suite of products through Microsoft 365 without ever having to worry about Google’s US-centric whims again? Go on, what are you waiting for!
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