Gaggle Speaks

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

Written by Corey Tutewiler
on March 28, 2017

Sometimes, educators will mistake us as a network security provider. The misunderstanding makes sense. When K12 schools and districts think of focusing on student safety, network security comes to mind, because it does reduce access to potentially malicious online content.

Network security, as I’ve discussed in a previous post, is about limiting access to malware and online content that is not suitable for students. Gaggle Safety Management, however, is not only concerned with what students access, but more importantly how they behave. Both Safety Management and network security are essential ingredients for the safety and protection of your school or district, but it’s important to delineate the boundaries so that you can understand what each service uniquely offers.

We analyze and review student behavior in communications and files, because we want to provide schools and districts with the ability to intervene in situations when they come to light and before the escalate into something more severe. To further illustrate the difference between Gaggle and network security, here are five incidents Safety Management will identify that your network security won’t catch.

Suicidal intentions

Over the years, we’ve learned that many students legitimately consider suicide as an option for dealing with a difficult situation. Fortunately, students often communicate their intentions with one another or discuss them in a shared document on Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. When they do, our machine learning technology identifies the content as potentially inappropriate, and Safety Representatives review it to see if the student needs help. In one case, we even discovered a suicide note that was scheduled for delivery at a later point in time, because the student planned on committing suicide before it was delivered.

Sharing underage, nude photos

Gaggle provides early warning detection when students attempt to share nude photos with peers at school. This happens more often and involves younger students than you might anticipate. We’ve identified students trying to send self-produced pornography in as early as sixth grade. We notify your school or district Emergency Contacts so that they can make sure the student receives counsel and learns about the risks involved in sharing personal information online.


Network security providers don’t do much for cyberbullying. It’s understandable, seeing as how this is not an intended benefit of their services. They might prevent communications on social media, which arguably delays cyberbullying, but there aren’t any proactive measures for detecting it and notifying contacts at a school or district.

Drug deals

Gaggle intervenes in situations when students express intentions to partake in drug use and even in drug deals. Safety Representatives are trained to keep up with the most current trends and slang to ensure they know when students are referring to issues involving drugs and alcohol.

Chatting and planning to meet with strangers

Gaggle provides the ability to know when students are having inappropriate conversations with adults using school-provided resources. Once again, network security services provide schools and districts with a way to lock down communications on social media. They cannot, however, ensure that communications between students and unknown contacts are analyzed and reviewed for inappropriate content.

The difference between Safety Management and network security is simple: Network security primarily protecting the interests of your school or district, whereas Safety Management is all about protecting students and saving lives.

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