SIGN THE PETITION
As a concerned citizen, I affirm that:
School systems should play a significant role
in protecting students from addictive platforms and age-inappropriate content on students' online learning devices.
School systems and administrators should aggressively filter age-inappropriate content on school-issued devices.
Parents have a right to clear communication and transparency from school systems on filter policies &
internet histories on their childrens' learning devices.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Don't assume your school system has put appropriate filters in place on your child's device.
Don't assume your school system shares your family's standards when it comes to the amount of time or the types of content your child is viewing on a school-issued laptop.
Don't search your child's computer right away. (Doing so could change algorithms to make it more likely your child sees questionable videos. Parents need to delete cookies and internet history if searching.)
Don't assume you know more than your child about technology.
Don't let your own screen usage time stop you from exploring ways to protect your kids from limitless and potentially harmful content.
Ask your school system:
to put aggressive filters in place on ALL platforms on your child's computer.
to place time limits on addictive platforms like YouTube.
for your child's internet history. You may get denied, so keep asking.
to form a technology advisory council of tech experts.
address security concerns at the device-level so that where ever kids are (coffee shop, a friend's house), they are protected from age-inappropriate images.
to implement other options such as teacher screen-sharing for educational videos.
invest in technology to allow teachers to see students' screens (districts in TN have this option.)
Be aware of the science behind addiction. Significant amounts of time spent on screens, even if the content is age-appropriate, can pave the way for significant mental health challenges.
Explore options like "Circle" or call your internet service provider to help you set filters at home (for a fee) if your school system won't put filters on your child's computer.
Get other parents in your district to help you ask good questions.
These images and more like it were found in videos through a
"medium" YouTube filter on school-issued laptops.
Currently, filter levels in the locality are the same for elementary, middle and high school students. No time limits exist for sites like YouTube at the device-level.
In addition, content that would likely be considered racist,
extremist and misogynistic was easily accessible.
HOW THIS STARTED
Safe Screens for Students was started as a volunteer effort by a Richmond, Virginia mom.
She grew concerned with the amount of time her child was spending on addictive platforms like YouTube during virtual school hours, even though he was in a highly monitored environment.
In conversations with other parents, she learned of widespread concern of falling grades and increased apathy, anxiety, and depression.
Fortunately, her own child did NOT view age-inappropriate material, but she became curious as to what other children in her school district could access on their school-issued laptops.
She was shocked at what she found: violent video games featuring prison rape scenes, racist and sexist content, full nudity of all body parts, and other images that couldn't be shown on TV but were accessible 24/7 by young children.
After numerous requests to her city's school administrators to implement better solutions (teachers' sharing screens, other platforms, stronger filters and/or time limits), she launched this petition.
She hopes other parents will start asking questions and getting answers from their own school districts so that kids can fully participate in virtual school and reach their full potential in life.