At Google, we believe it’s important for parents (which we’ll use in this article to include guardians) to understand how their children use Google services in the classroom. This article will help primary and secondary (K–12) schools that use G Suite for Education ensure that they can communicate effectively with parents and guardians about their students’ use of Google services with G Suite for Education accounts, and help obtain parents’ consent where appropriate.
Because school administrators can determine which services are available and the policies for each service, each school’s use of G Suite for Education is different. We believe that schools are in the best position to tailor the information they share with parents based on their school’s actual use of Google services. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but Google aims to give schools the information they need about our services and our privacy and security practices so they can keep parents well informed.
G Suite for Education schools can follow the steps below to help parents understand how the school uses Google services, what information Google gets when they use these services, and how Google uses that information.
1. Determine which Google services your school will use
G Suite for Education offers two categories of Google services: Core Services (like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Classroom) that are provided under your school’s G Suite for Education agreement, and Additional Services (like YouTube, Maps, and Blogger) that can be used with G Suite for Education accounts if allowed for educational purposes by a school’s domain administrator. This article explains more about the differences between Core and Additional Services.
G Suite for Education administrators can manage which Core and Additional Services their users can access with their accounts. K–12 schools should note which services they allow students to access, so they can share information about those services with parents.
2. Get parent or guardian consent where appropriate
Schools may need or want to get a parent or guardian’s consent for the Google services they allow students to access. For schools in the United States, Google provides this template to help them do that, but it’s up to schools to determine how best to use it, to fill it with their own contact information and information about the services they enable, and to share it along with the resources for parents below.
- Additional Services require consent for minor users: G Suite for Education requires in its agreement (section 2.5) that schools obtain parent or guardian consent for any Additional Services they allow students under the age of 18 to use.
- Schools may opt to get consent for Core Services as well: As a best practice, school may also want to get parent or guardian consent for the Core Services they enable. Otherwise, a school would provide consent for Core Services on parents’ behalf by signing up for and using these G Suite for Education services.
Resources to share with parents and guardians
In addition to the template notice above, we recommend that schools share the resources listed below with parents and guardians as part of getting their consent:
- Our G Suite for Education Privacy Notice describes how Google products and services collect and use information when used with G Suite for Education accounts.
- Information about the legal commitments Google makes for G Suite for Education Core and Additional Services is available in our Help Center.
- Information about how Google’s products work to protect privacy is available in our Product Privacy Guide
and at privacy.google.com. Note that Google does not use any user personal information (or any information associated with an G Suite for Education Account) to target ads for G Suite for Education users in primary and secondary (K–12) schools, and any statements about ads on those pages are overridden by this restriction from our Privacy Notice.
- Information about Google's compliance with international legal obligations on data protection can be seen in the Data Processing Amendment to Google Workspace and/or Complementary Product Agreement, which describes extensive measures for data security that Google and its customers have agreed.
- Answers to many top questions about privacy and security appear on our Google for Education Privacy and Security Center.
- Parents can visit myaccount.google.com while signed in to their child’s G Suite for Education account to view and manage the personal information and settings of the account.
Schools in different countries and communities have different regulations and approaches, and Google cannot advise you on compliance with the laws applicable to your school. You should obtain parental consent in a manner that complies with the laws of your jurisdiction.
As administrator, parents might contact you about error messages they get when trying to add a G Suite for Education account to a personal Android device with a pre-existing supervised child account, by the Family Link app. These errors mainly occur when the child account is managed by the Family Link app and the school account is subject to mobile device management (MDM) by the school’s administrator.
The errors might state “Couldn't sign in, There was a problem communicating with Google servers. Try again later”. Or, “Your G Suite for Education account, which is managed by the school administrator, can’t be added to this device. This device is already managed through Family Link and can have only 1 manager.”
- You set MDM to Basic, not Advanced, for the student organizational unit.
- Or, you create a separate organizational unit for BYOD students and set MDM to Basic.
We do not recommend turning off MDM.