Students are being watched through spyware that their schools have encrypted in their computers. Some argue this is invasive and illegal, while Gaggle, the tech company that creates and maintains the spyware, claims it saves lives. Gaggle is a tech company that provides an early warning system to identify children in crisis before tragedy strikes. They monitor the schools learning platforms such as Google’s workspaces Office 365 and their emails. They’re looking for indications through AI technology and human safety agents to review the items to determine if the words such as suicide cutting I hate myself may be an issue.
Gaggle claims they don’t monitor the student’s private email addresses or social media. They are only looking at the school-provided tools Gaggle calls the digital playground. At the school, Gaggle currently protects over five million students. Last year alone, they sent over 140,000 alerts about students talking about suicide or self-harm incidents.
Recently CEO Jeff Patterson appeared on CBS after an article on the 74 criticized Gaggle. He wanted to talk about the results from a study that they did nationwide between March 2020 and March 21 during the pandemic. The report from the 74 was written in September. The data from the CDC that there is a decline in self-inflicted fatalities did not hinder the uptick in schools purchasing Gaggle software.
In October 2021, physicians called a national emergency for mental health in students. Gaggle is causing more good than harm. Research by Gaggle shows that (Gaggle.Net & Inc, 2021) 81% of teachers report having monitoring spyware in their school’s Gaggle is an early warning sign they use tags to identify issues they are providing student safety solutions OK homemade safety fact more salient among consumers.
There have been mixed media reports and great PR. For CEO Jeff Patterson to defend his tech company, he showed attribution and responsibility attribute (Coombs, 2007). the CDC says there is a crease in suicide yet then a mental health national crisis was declared in October overall in our world today with the digital world that students inhabit schools are taking risks seriously on the of the problem that can potentially occur while yes privacy is essential the fact that the danger that exists digitally is always an unknown it’s a hotly contested topic to spy on children it is deemed as a safe way to monitor students Jeff Patterson was forthright he made explicitly the statement that by being transparent with the lawmakers there’s a collective power in the number of schools that use Gaggle and promote this much-needed service the school is using gaggle too organization organizing timely consequence.
The video below shows the importance of this type of spyware he said that the software clearly helps students at risk they are not under 24 hour surveillance and this doesn’t inhibit students from expressing themselves openly he noted that children don’t always tell you what’s going on sometimes they use their email knowing that they’re being monitored as a cry for help they’re not always going to share their problems with an adult they believe that they provide more benefit for students in vulnerable groups the CEO was asked if this is an invasion of privacy is surveillance tools that are marketed as student safety solutions.
With the surge of spying on students recently, lawmakers have requested that these companies become more transparent and reveal their business practices Gaggle said they’re the leader in the industry and they are happy to rebuild their practices they can’t emphasize enough that there is a mental health crisis in the United States and it’s affecting the children according to the CDC last year alone 25% of young adults had seriously considered suicide within the previous 30 days the other research they did found that 50% increase in visits of girls between 12 and 17 he said that they do everything they can through third parties to protect their technology to make sure that the students information is not taken and privacy is maintained the information is very important that they have they made over 20,000 emergency phone calls to school officials to principals counselors because something urgent at the school needed to be aware of for the protection of the students.
Coombs, W. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163–176. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.crr.1550049
Gaggle.Net & Inc. (2021, September). 2020–2021 student safety report. Gaggle.net. https://news.gaggle.net/state-of-student-safety
Keierleber, M. (2021, September 14). Exclusive data: An inside look at the spy tech that followed kids home for remote learning — and now won’t leave. The 74 million. https://www.the74million.org/article/gaggle-spy-tech-minneapolis-students-remote-learning/
The pioneer in helping k-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. (n.d.). the Learning Counsel. https://thelearningcounsel.com/article/pioneer-helping-k-12-districts-manage-student-safety-school-provided-technology