How online safety is evolving in schools

Local News

The world is changing. Social media is expanding and smartphones give our youth access to the internet 24-7 at the click of a button.

School Counselor, Jason Craig says, “It could just be one click of the mouse or on the phone and it’s out there and it could live with them for a very long time.”

New research shows 95% of teens have access to smartphones. 45% saying they’re online almost constantly. Meaning students are online tweeting, posting, liking, and sharing now more than ever. Something Staff at South Sioux City Community school’s monitor closely.

Todd Strom, Superintendent of schools at South Sioux City says, “We have several teams that have been highly trained in everywhere from our threat assessment to our safety team.”

“We look for anything that has any kind of threat against the school a particular student or a group of students, those just go right to the top of the list,” says Craig.

Student Services Director, Becky Eckhardt says, “We practice drills throughout the school year all the time. We have posters and signs throughout our school building, we do tabletop activities, role-playing different scenarios that could potentially happen.”

Schools today have software that can scan students social media or search engines for potential threats such as keywords that could spell trouble, but it’s not always full proof. Which is why it’s important parents get involved with what their child is saying online.

“We do have software that does monitor some of that, but a lot of those things students have a way of finding their way around. So it’s important we encourage parents to have those conversations with there students about what they put on social media could have long-term ramifications whether it be financial or legal,” says Craig.

The cardinal rule being we all have a duty to keep an eye out for online threats. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

“We really educate our students, staff, and community on if you see something say something. Just really encouraging anyone who has a concern to bring that forward,” says Eckhardt.

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