Are the kids all right? These school surveillance apps sure want to tell you

A number of businesses are rushing in to watch everything kids do on their school-issued tech. My cynical view is that I guess kids have to learn at some point that nothing they do online is private. That said, I'm still extremely uncomfortable with this.

Using a combination of AI and human intelligence, Gaggle and Securly scan student writing for signs of bullying, depression, and violent impulses. Minor infractions, like cussing, might result in a form email to a student from the principal reminding them about school policies. Higher-level concerns are emailed to a school administrator, while emergencies result in a phone call. Gaggle also uses a pornography screener to identify images in student files and emails and, when appropriate, takes care the district’s legal requirements to turn over the images to law enforcement without district employees needing to view or handle the images. Securly makes student search histories available to parents and allows parents to impose their own restrictions on their child’s device.


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