detecting and addressing suicide by monitoring students online

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10 to 24 years old in the United States.

Several states, including Missouri, South Dakota and South Carolina have seen drastic increases in teen suicide in 2015. According to the Department of Education, one reservation in South Dakota had over 100 suicide attempts and 12 suicide deaths during the 2014-15 school year.

According to the recent statistics from the CDC, approximately 16% of high school students have reported considering suicide. Some 13% of those actually created a plan for execution, and 50% considering the idea later followed through within the next year.

These disturbing statistics are a call to action for educators and school administrators to take every possible measure to prevent student suicide. In fact, The CDC recommends early prevention as a primary means of helping young people avoid developing suicidal ideation.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) tells teachers and administrators to look for the signs of immediate risk for suicide. The three top behaviors include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

In this technologically connected world, the primary place that these controversial conversations are taking place are online; on emails, social media, and app chat rooms. That’s why it is more important than ever for schools to have a network management software in place with flagged monitoring for all devices connected to the internet.

Here is a helpful SPRC handout on the role of the high school teacher in preventing teen suicide.

What is online monitoring?

Monitoring is an Internet safety feature in behavior management software that protects students from online risks. Behavior management and monitoring software is fundamentally different from content-filtering software. Filters allow or deny access to websites. Behavior management software uses categories, such as lists of words or phrases, to capture and identify inappropriate activity on PCs, laptops, and other digital devices.

Once captured, a screenshot is taken and forwarded to a school teacher or administrator along with other identifying features, such as a screenshot identifying a concerning word or phrase, a logged-in user, or an IP address, etc. When students use certain keywords, the software alerts the teacher. This can identify suicidal conversations and behaviors right away, which might otherwise go unnoticed, so school staff can intervene, provide the necessary support and prevent the unimaginable.

How has monitoring helped detect suicidal tendencies of students?

The monitoring of keywords specifically for suicide using Impero Education Pro has been in place in classrooms across the UK for several years. Recently, one UK school reported that because of Education Pro they were able to prevent three suicides in the past year alone. That is three lives of students that were saved by monitoring their activity online during class. Think of how many lives could be saved across the country and around the world by using keyword monitoring!

Helping students report suicidal behavior

Impero Education Pro behavior management software provides students with a confidential way of reporting any questionable online activities to authorities through its Confide function. Students can find comfort knowing that their submissions are anonymous. They can safely report a peer, or even their own depression without anyone else knowing. This function alone could possibly save a life.

The future of Education Pro

At present in the US, Impero Education Pro software provides schools with the ability to create custom keyword lists for monitoring students, which is the first step in preventing suicides, cyberbullying, eating disorders, and simply keeping kids safe online. Within the next year, however, Impero will be rolling out a keyword library specifically geared toward suicide prevention. This library will be free of charge for those schools who currently have the Education Pro product, and for new purchases of the software.

For a comprehensive explanation of behavior management software, Internet safety monitoring, and Impero Education Pro, you can download a whitepaper here.

Find out more about how Impero education network management software can help your school in the early prevention of student suicide by requesting free demos and trials on our website. Talk to our team of education experts by calling 877.883.4370, or by emailing Impero now to arrange a call back.