LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Many parents have probably noticed their kids are doing more school work on tablets and computers.
We looked at what’s keeping your kids safe when they are working online at school and what happens when something goes wrong.
Tom Shininger, dean and counselor at Las Vegas Day School, said it’s important to work together in the effort to keep kids safe.
“It also matters what parents and schools — they’re all on the same page, and we’re all trying to protect these kiddos,” Shininger said.
The school days of books, binders and a No.2 pencil have passed. Students now work, write and learn using computers, Chromebooks, tablets and technology.
This can engender opportunities for students to find inappropriate sites.
Before CCSD students are allowed internet access, they sign a digital waiver — an acceptable use policy — agreeing to use school technology for school work. The district also uses programs to filter content.
CCSD Police Lt. Bryan Zink said all devices have two different technologies built-in.
“There’s Go Guardian, and then, there’s also Beacon,” Zink said.
Go Guardian’s software helps schools manage student’s devices.
“Those monitor — they’re not spying on the kid … they don’t activate the cameras when people don’t want the cameras on — what they do is they monitor what the kids do,” Zink said.
Beacon is a tool that allows administrators to track and report on student interventions. It can, if needed, turn a computer off.
“Even though they might act mature, they might be on their game with grades, they’re still kids,” Shininger said.
In the case of more extreme behavior, these technologies can help get ahead of a crisis. If a student types something alarming …
For example, Zink said if a student were to type “where can I buy a gun,” it won’t go unnoticed.
“It’ll send an alert to the school, who then alert the proper authority,” he said.
The school’s action plan would then kick into high gear.
“It may end up that you get a knock on your door with law enforcement, or school police, our partners in the valley making sure everything is okay. Or it may just be that the school gets a message … ‘Hey, you may wanna talk to this kid because they’ve looked at something,’ ” Zink said.
Hundreds of thousands of Chromebooks have been issued out in the district and the vast majority of the focus is just keeping kids on task, focused on schoolwork, and staying safe in the cyberworld.
Eighth-grader Samantha Lefever might have said it best: “So, I feel that kids should spend more time being kids.”