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Online safety for your student Chromebook user

Reporter: Rich Kolko Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:

With more children spending all day on the computer to learn, there are a lot of ways for them to get into trouble online.

The School District of Lee County has software downloaded on school-issued Chromebooks that will help keep kids safe online.

“I would hope they would do that and make sure they are safe, for sure,” said parent Kim Stewart of Fort Myers.

That’s where Dwayne Alton comes in. He’s the executive director of technology operations for the district, and he said, “We have multiple levels of security. We have a layered approach to it. When they’re inside the building or at home, we have filtering software that watches everything they try to request on the Internet.”

Most social media sites are blocked, but if a student needs to get to a website for a project, they can ask the teacher.

“The teacher will say that we are researching something that may be in a gray area; for example, drugs or gun violence or things like that. They may be doing a project in social studies or in health class; in that case, what they do is submit a request to us and then we have a team that we review the site and unblock it,” Alton said.

All of the searches are collected by the school and if students have access to a site they shouldn’t, Alton said, “If there’s a site that we feel is inappropriate and the filter isn’t blocking, we can add that filter to it.”

The rules are spelled out to the students, in all grades.

“We have a code of conduct that dictates what the steps are for inappropriate use of computers. So we have obviously an acceptable use policy that the students have to abide by.”

But if they don’t, “the progressive discipline model would be used if there was inappropriate use.”

The school can also contact the parents if needed, and even if school is virtual, you still can’t cut class.

We do however have tools that the teachers can use to determine if the student is in class when they’re supposed to be in class remotely,” Alton said.

The safety team also has to worry about your child’s mental health, something that is especially concerning to them this fall.

“You could have a student that may be a suicidal ideation or whatnot. We have procedures for getting them counseling and things like that. And in the COVID era with people feeling more isolated, mental health is taken even more important, it’s become even more important with the counseling folks and they have put processes in place so they could do remote counseling with students,” Alton said.

There are places you can go to find more resources to help protect your child’s Chromebook. Click here for that information. You can also download the Student and Parent Guide to Chromebooks here.

You can also read the Lee County school district’s Parent Guide and Code of Conduct for Students here.