Gaggle Speaks

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

Written by Lisa Railton
on May 25, 2021

When schools shut down last March, many districts opted to include elementary students in their Gaggle services to ensure they were protected in the digital environment. In fact, the number of elementary students protected by Gaggle increased by 27% during the first full year of the pandemic. So, what exactly is Gaggle seeing at the elementary level?

While we expected to see some growth in content to match the increase in students protected, items analyzed per student skyrocketed by 429%. With the shift to virtual learning, elementary students used their devices much more frequently—highlighting the fact that these younger students are facing similar challenges as our middle and high schoolers, including depression and thoughts of self-harm.

In every single major category Gaggle flags, incidents at the elementary level have increased by 100% or more:

  • Suicide & Self-Harm increased by 191%, from 2.3 to 6.8 incidents per 1,000 students
  • Violence Toward Others increased by 225%, from 2.1 to 7.0 incidents per 1,000 students
  • Nudity & Sexual Content increased by 281%, from 0.8 to 3.0 incidents per 1,000 students
  • Drugs & Alcohol increased by 317%, from 0.2 to 0.8 incidents per 1,000 students
  • Harassment increased by 100%, from 0.9 to 1.8 incidents per 1,000 students

The increase in Nudity & Sexual Content has also resulted in an uptick in cases reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). If our team suspects minors are being exploited or abused, the content is reported to NCMEC as required. During the first year of the pandemic, cases reported to NCMEC by Gaggle increased by an astonishing 403% at the elementary level.  

To learn more about what Gaggle’s data revealed during the first full year of the pandemic, read our Students Disrupted: One Year Into the Pandemic report. The report also offers insight into the student safety trends we’re seeing so far during the 2020–21 school year.

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