Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Lisa Railton
on October 15, 2021

With the continued prevalence of remote learning during the 2020–21 school year, K-12 districts across the country recognized the need to protect students on their school-issued devices while they engaged in their education from home. Here at Gaggle, we saw many new and existing district partners choosing to include students at the elementary level in their digital safety nets. In fact, the number of elementary students supported by Gaggle increased by 21% compared to the 2019–20 school year. 

With this spike in lower grade levels supported by Gaggle, we expected to see some growth in content and incidents from these younger students. When examining the data at the end of the school year, it was apparent that elementary students are engaging with the virtual environment more and struggling at increasing levels. Although elementary students produced fewer items than their middle and high school counterparts, the content generated at the elementary level increased by 163% per student. Whether they were learning at home or in the classroom, it appears that elementary students used school-issued Google, Microsoft, and Canvas accounts at increasing rates this past year. 

Digging into student safety incidents, our data revealed troubling trends across the board—even after taking our year-over-year growth in students protected into account. Compared to the 2019–20 school year, incident rates per 10,000 students at the elementary level increased significantly in the five main categories Gaggle flags:

  • Suicide & Self-Harm increased by 252% (from 24 to 86 incidents per 10,000 students)
  • Violence Toward Others increased by 346% (from 21 to 94 incidents per 10,000 students)
  • Nudity & Sexual Content increased by 362% (from 9 to 44 incidents per 10,000 students)
  • Drugs & Alcohol increased by 431% (from 2 to 11 incidents per 10,000 students)
  • Harassment increased by 196% (from 9 to 26 incidents per 10,000 students)

With student safety incident rates in our five main categories increasing by 196% to 431% year over year at the elementary level, the data from this past school year highlights the growing need to support these younger students. Access our Through the Gaggle Lens: The State of Student Safety report to learn more about what we saw during the 2020–21 school year and gain expert insight into student well-being. 

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