monitoring students online to prevent weapons and violence in schools
26th January 2016
“He’ll be walking in here all tooled up.” “There’s gonna be a case of lead poisoning today.”
If you saw the above comments on a student’s computer, would you know what they mean by “tooled up” or “lead poisoning?” Turns out that “tooled up” is slang for carrying a weapon, and “lead poisoning” means death by a gun. Disturbing, right? There are hundreds of slang words and phrases used to describe weapons and violent acts. You could argue that plenty of teachers or IT admins don’t know what these slang words mean or stand for. How could they keep up with the trending phrases? It’d be nearly impossible.
Educators and administrators can’t do it alone. In addition to their true duties each day, how could they have time to keep track of all the URLs they need to block for their Internet capable students? Blocking websites doesn’t really tell you what students are looking for when it comes to violent behavior or weapons.
Instead, it’s these search keywords that give educators insight into what is going on. Thankfully, there is an intuitive way to handle the ever-changing landscape of the Internet and how students use it. It’s called behavior management and monitoring software, and it should be a teacher and IT admin’s best tool in keeping students safe.
What is monitoring and behavior management software?
Monitoring is an Internet safety feature in behavior management software that protects students online. Behavior management and monitoring software is fundamentally different from content blocking and filtering software. Filters merely allow or deny access to websites, while 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, the software logs an automatic screenshot or video recording. This allows educators and administrators to identify the context of any questionable conversation – such as a screenshot identifying a concerning word or phrase, a logged-in user or an IP address. When students use certain keywords, the software alerts the teacher. This can identify violent behavior and present the teacher with a way to confront the situation. As new slang terms trend, keyword lists can be updated with new words, phrases and definitions.
Blocking vs. monitoring — what’s the difference?
Filtering and blocking Internet content is no longer sufficient when it comes to preventing violence in schools. Simply blocking Internet access not only closes off the opportunity to gain access to valuable learning resources, but it also removes the ability to identify students who need intervention. Monitoring online behavior, including social media, puts behavior management into the student’s hands. It also gives the teacher a window into what is going on in a student’s cyberworld.
How can you help students report weapons and violence?
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 expose a potential violent act or an impending situation without fear of further harassment. They don’t have to “rat out” their peers. This gives students a voice when they previously felt like they had none.
What’s in the future of monitoring software?
Currently, Impero Education Pro software allows school officials to create custom keyword lists to monitor students. This is the first step in keeping kids safe online and in classrooms. Soon, however, Impero will roll out a keyword library specifically geared toward the prevention of cyberbullying, weapons, violence, suicide and self-harm, eating disorders, child abuse and other harmful activities. This library will be free of charge for school systems that currently have the Education Pro product and for new purchasers of the software.
For a more thorough explanation of behavior management software, Internet safety monitoring and Impero Education Pro, download our whitepaper here.
To talk talk to our team of education experts call 877.883.4370, or email Impero now to arrange a call back.
If you are a nonprofit organization that would like to partner with Impero to keep kids safe from weapons and violence, child abuse, bullying or other harmful acts, email us today!