More than half of students in K-12 in the United States have started the school year with some form of virtual learning, according to a recent study. There are advantages and disadvantages to the new way of learning. An expert associated with OSF HealthCare says there are ways to take advantage of the opportunities learning online offers.

Most virtual learning platforms allow for individualized, one-on-one conversations and messaging options in order to personalize the experience for students. Dr. Channing Petrak says this also allows the opportunity for students to bring up a concern or potential issue to their teacher without doing so in front of their classmates.

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Concerns, however, include the possibility that while online the students will encounter cyberbullying or online predators. Dr. Petrak recommends that parents and guardians speak to school officials about the safety measures in place for their student’s virtual learning experience. It is also important to remind students not to share their virtual classroom link with others in order to keep the classroom a private space for students only and to keep potential predators out.

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