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Can Teachers See your Screen on Zoom?

Definitely not. Not unless you are sharing your screen actively.

Controversy due to privacy concerns has long followed the video conferencing software Zoom. Even though Zoom has taken a lot of steps to increase security and privacy for its users, there’s always a shadow of a doubt hanging back at the recesses of the mind. Is my privacy protected? Should I be taking any cautions?

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One such question that has circulated the internet quite often is: Can teachers see your screen on Zoom? In fact, it’s not just students who wonder about it. People attending office meetings have cause to wonder the same. Can the meeting hosts, who are often also the boss, see their screens? Let’s put this to rest for once and all.

Can the Host see Your Screen?

No, they cannot. Pure and simple. No one in the meeting can see your screen unless you choose to share it. And it’s not something you can do accidentally, so you don’t have anything to worry about on that front.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re using the free or premium account. It goes the same for everyone. Being able to see your screen without permission would be a huge privacy violation. And therefore, it can never be the case unless a company is inviting lawsuits. So, put your worries to bed as the contents of your screen are completely safe.


Can They tell When you are Not Paying attention?

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So the host cannot see your screen. But what about being able to tell whether or not you’re actively present in the meeting? What if you had another window open? Whether you wished to simply take notes in another app, or you were browsing the internet during class, can the meeting host tell that your meeting window is dormant and you’ve got another window open?

These are all valid questions considering there was a time when they could. Zoom used to have an Attention Tracking feature that would let the meeting host know when a participant’s meeting window wasn’t active for more than 30 seconds. Granted, it only worked during a screen sharing session. But it was there nonetheless, waiting to get you in trouble.

A blast from the past. Meeting hosts could see this grey icon next to the “inactive” participant’s name.

And as expected, it was surrounded by controversy. There were tons of questions revolving around this feature. Should Zoom be allowed to track participants screen like that? Don’t the participants have the right to know when they are being tracked by the meeting host? And countless others. They’re precisely the reason that the feature was permanently removed some months back.

And currently, there is no way of telling whether or not you have another window open and your Zoom window dormant in the meeting.


So whether you’re a straight-A student whos’ worried that having another app open to take notes might lead the teacher into thinking that you’re not paying attention, or you have other motives, there’s nothing to worry about. You’re completely safe to do whatever it is you’re up to, as long as you steer clear of the ‘Share Screen’ button.