Virtual Private Networks have become an essential tool for education and research in the digital age. As learning and academics move increasingly online, using a VPN provides critical protection of privacy, security, and access to information. There are several key reasons why students, teachers, and academics should use a VPN.
Enhanced Online Privacy and Security
One of the main benefits of a VPN is enhancing privacy and security when using the internet for school or research. Public Wi-Fi networks, which are commonly used on campuses and in libraries, cafes, etc. are often vulnerable to attacks. A VPN encrypts all traffic between your device and the internet, preventing hackers from spying on your online activity or stealing sensitive information like login credentials.
This is especially important when accessing school portals, submitting assignments online, using digital library resources, etc. A study found that over 80% of public Wi-Fi networks have serious security vulnerabilities. Using a VPN protects students no matter where they need to access the internet for academics.
Bypass Internet Censorship and Restrictions
In some countries, access to information online can be heavily censored or restricted. Using a VPN allows students and academics to bypass filters, firewalls, and blacklisted websites imposed by authoritarian regimes, overzealous network admins, or overbearing institutions.
A VPN can unblock social media sites used for academic collaboration and research that may be banned on school/university networks. It also allows access to news and resources blocked due to geographical publishing restrictions. This allows more freedom to access information without limitations.
Secure Remote Access to Campus Networks and Libraries
Many schools and universities have on-campus internet resources like digital libraries, datasets, proprietary software, etc. that can only be accessed when physically connected to the campus network. A VPN allows remote secure access to these resources from off-campus for distance learners or researchers who need to work from home/remote locations.
This facilitates more flexible learning and working situations without compromising security or privacy. A VPN provides a secure tunnel to access internal resources remotely.
Facilitate Collaboration with International Academics
VPNs allow students and researchers to access country-specific academic resources, connect with international collaborators, and participate in global academic communities regardless of geographical limitations and censorship.
By changing your virtual location with a VPN server in another country, you can access localized libraries, journals, datasets, and connect with fellow academics abroad restricted by region. This breaks down barriers and enables the free flow of information between researchers around the world.
Avoid Throttling and Save Money
Using the education discount pricing from reputable paid VPN providers like NordVPN or Surfshark can help students and academics save money. Depending on the provider, discounts of up to 80% off full pricing may be offered.
Paid VPN services also help avoid throttling and restrictions often imposed by colleges and universities to manage network bandwidth usage. Using a VPN bypasses these limits for better speed and reliability. However, one of the VPN disadvantages (https://surfshark.com/blog/benefits-of-vpn) is that it will decrease the Wi-Fi speed a bit. So, you have to bear with it.
From enhancing privacy and security to bypassing censorship, accessing academic resources remotely, facilitating global collaboration, and saving money, there are many important reasons for students, teachers, and researchers to use a VPN. As learning and scholarship continue moving online, taking steps to protect digital access, information freedom, and privacy with a VPN is essential.