Cyberbullying has been tied to suicide among school-age minors. A sizable number of cases have unfolded in America where a young person takes their life due to a demoralizing experience with a cyberbully.
The list of unfortunate cases, which have transpired over the last few years is too long to profile in this brief article. However, the bright side to this sad story is that a private k-12 school near Los Angeles, California is using technology to eavesdrop on students using computers at school to prevent cyberbullying and suicide.
Anya Kamenetz, a senior education contributor for NPR.org wrote a column that was published December 23rd titled, “When A School’s Online Eavesdropping Can Prevent A Suicide.” Kamenetz’s report profiled Ken Yeh, the director of Ontario Christian Schools, which is the institution engaged in these hi-tech suicide prevention activities.
“Yeh is the technology director at [Ontario Christian Schools]. Three years ago, the school began buying Chromebook laptops for students to use in class and at home. That, Yeh says, raised concerns from parents about what they’d be used for, especially outside of school,” Kamenetz wrote.
Yeh then retained the services of a tech startup called GoGuardian so that his school could put software in the new laptops, which would monitor the browsing and searches made by students. Taking these precautions have helped the school prevent cyberbullying and suicides.
Yeh also stated in an interview with NPR.org that parents have not complained about privacy issues regarding their children. There seems to be a full understanding of the school’s desire to surveil the activities of students during classroom hours to prevent major problems.
“It is a way for us to proactively intervene when they are looking for help. And so we feel a good sense of responsibility in trying to look out for the welfare of our students,” Yeh told NPR.org