Gaggle

How Child Pornography Gets on School-Issued Technology

An open office computer laptop on a plain timber desk with police crime scene tape across the keyboard.

Many schools and districts are unaware, but there’s a very possible scenario by which child pornography can get on school-provided technology. This predicament can represent a great liability if you haven’t taken the appropriate measures to detect this type of content and if school staff and educators aren’t properly educated and trained on how to react to its discovery.

Let’s review the series of steps that can lead to pornography on school resources.

Step 1: Student receives a school-provided email account

Nowadays, the first email account that most students have is school- or district-provided. Organizational Units (OUs) in Google and Groups in Office 365 are created for students as early as in first and second grade, and students sometimes have restricted email capabilities shortly after.

Educators should always promote the idea of providing access to technology as early as possible, as long as provisions are taken for safety and security. To this day, it’s better that students use email first in a controlled environment where they can safely learn from their mistakes.

Step 2: Student receives a phone or tablet and backs up photos to cloud storage

Whether through a 1-to-1 device initiative, or as a personal gift from parents, students receive phones and tablets earlier each year.31% of 8-to-10-year-olds, 69% of 11-to-14- year-olds and 85% of kids between the ages of 14 and 17 have personal cell phones.

After students first receive a phone or tablet, one of the first prompts during setup is to decide whether or not they want to back images and videos up to the cloud. If they enter their school- or district-provided email account, any images and videos will be backed up on your Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

Once again, we should all be supporting the early adoption of technology, assuming that usage is limited and reviewed. It’s healthy to create sessions during which technology is open and available, but limiting or removing privileges throughout the day and at night, so as to ensure that students are interacting with, and learning from, sources elsewhere and sleeping properly.

Step 3: Student takes nude selfies

This year, we intervened in hundreds of cases of child pornography on school-issued technology. We’ve identified students attempting to share self-produced pornography as early as in fourth grade. Some situations are clearly more innocuous than others. Sometimes, students are merely taking photos of themselves without any intent to share them. In some cases, however, the images are taken with the intent to share (whether with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or sometimes even with a stranger met on sites like Craigslist).

Regardless of intent, if steps 1 and 2 have occurred, there’s child pornography on school-issued technology, and it needs to be taken care of. If you haven’t taken proactive measures to detect this content with a solution like Gaggle Safety Management and discover it on your own, be sure that you do not attempt download or manipulate the content until you seek legal counsel first.