Q4 2018 Social Impact Report

Identifying Kids at Risk: A Deeper Dive into Online Grief in the Winter Months

In September 2018, we released our first quarterly social impact report. We described Securly’s products and services, and how they spotlight real issues kids face today – anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles. Securly’s technology surfaces what schools can do to address student’s needs, as well as situations where they can actively intervene to help a student in crisis. This quarter’s report examines the progression of these students from fall into winter and highlights Securly’s impact on the schools and students they serve.

Securly’s mission is to keep kids safe online. As the leading provider of cloud-based web filtering and device monitoring for schools, Securly is on the front lines of the secret digital lives of students with unprecedented visibility into their daily struggles.

Securly’s Reach

School districts using Securly’s solutions serve more than 10 million students across the United States, as shown:

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Securly’s Technology Reviews 55 Million Messages A Day

Securly’s AI technology continuously scans emails, web searches, social media posts and more to identify and flag for mentions or suggestions of suicide, self-harm, bullying, or violence. In Q4, Securly’s Filter and Auditor products scanned more than 55 Million online activities daily.

AI + Trained Human Analysts = 3 Minutes to Alert and Save Lives

Securly provides a unique service, called 24, combining advanced AI technology with human analysts trained in student safety and emergency response. These analysts review flagged emails, searches, and Google documents to notify schools of imminent dangers. In the past quarter, the service flagged 23,063 emails, searches, and posts for messages mentioning self-harm, depression, suicide, or violence.

Securly’s average 24 response time of 2.8 minutes allows schools to act quickly to save a student and intervene in a potentially life-threatening situation. In Q4, Securly technology and school leadership partnered to save more than 100 lives and impact an increasing count of major self-harm and bullying incidents. Securly’s streamlined emergency alerts system allows schools to quickly respond and intervene when a child is in imminent danger. Here’s an example of a Securly alert with the details necessary for schools to determine whether immediate intervention is needed:

Sample Filter Alert V2.png*An alert sent by a Student Safety Analyst to a school concerning suicidal searches from a student.

A Holistic View of Online Activity: At School and At Home

Securly understands that dangerous activity doesn’t stop after 3 PM. Securly released technology to integrate parents with schools in partnership to have a holistic view of each students’ online safety. Securly allows districts to provide parents a view into their child’s online activity on their school device at any time of day via the SecurlyHome app. Parents have visibility when the student is at home, and district admins are on the lookout when they’re at school.

As of December 31st, more than 50,000 parents are live on the SecurlyHome app, with 10,000 weekly active users on average engaging and interacting with the app and its features.

Holidays Bring Extra Pressure for Students

“The data shows that students find the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas to be a difficult one. They’re dealing with end-of-semester pressure as well as the stress of the holidays. 46% of the lives saved in the fall semester came from this period alone.
– Kathleen Boehle, Director of Student Safety Operations

Case Studies: Securly in Action

With Securly’s 24 service, schools are alerted within minutes when a student is in danger of suicide. Securly’s AI flags the messages, and a trained student safety analyst is there to make sure that the school is able to intervene in time.

Signs of Trouble: A Student in Crisis

On November 5th, 2018, Securly’s AI flagged a student searching for “how to kill yourself”, “how to commite suicide wothout anyone knowing”, and “how can I kill myself without anyone knowing” on Google. A student safety analyst immediately reached out to the school in question to alert them of the situation. When the analyst didn’t hear back right away from the school, they contacted local police and asked them to do a wellness check on the student. A few days later, the Chief of Student Services at the district reached out to Securly letting us know that the police had found the student in crisis and that they had been admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Suicide Case Study Screenshot 1.png*Securly’s technology sends analysts alerts for messages of bullying, violence, self-harm, and suicide.

Suicide Prevention: Looking Beyond the AI

A district began using Securly’s 24 service on December 10, 2018. Later that night at 9:30 PM, a student from that district was flagged for searching “painless way to kill yourself”. In the minutes that Securly’s analyst investigated, the student proceeded to visit a suicide prevention chat line, watch a Youtube video titled “What is the most painless way to commit suicide under $20,” and visit http://www.lostallhope.com, a website that provides detailed instructions for those who wish to take their own lives.
Upon reviewing these searches, a Student Safety Analyst from Securly immediately contacted the school, who conducted a wellness check on the student. The district followed up with an update on the situation, including the student’s explanation that they had clicked on the wrong link in a social media app. Securly’s analyst informed them that since the student had made actual Google searches, that was likely not possible.

News: Securly in the Media

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We are honored to be featured in Forbes.com’s round up spotlighting Securly’s artificial intelligence technology and the company’s balance of privacy and security when monitoring and flagging concerning messages from students. Says Vinay Mahadik, CEO, “There’s just so much societal and regulatory anxiety around what’s happening, particularly in the U.S. Schools and parents are dying for a solution that allows them to be in touch with kids a little more than they had to 10 years ago.”

Vinay Mahadik also spoke to Cheddar about the work that we do to keep kids safe online and how the company will scale following their $16M Series B funding.

New Devices at Home? Start a Technology Contract for Kids

Did your child receive new devices in the new year? Devices are often a tricky area to approach to navigate as a parent.

  • How much is too much screen time?
  • Am I depriving my child of value learning opportunities by taking away their devices?
  • What’s the social need for children and online connections?

These questions – and so many more – impact parents today.

Luckily, parents can find many tools to help keep their kids safe when they explore the internet. And, of course, there is no replacement for good old-fashioned communication and trust.

Start with a device contract put in place as a family. Children sign behavior contracts in elementary school and practice contracts for after school teams and activities. A technology contract lets you and your kids set the framework for how devices will work in your home.

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Too Much Screen Time for Kids? 7 Easy Tips to Manage Devices at Home

Children aged 8 to 12 spend, on average, nearly 6 hours per day exposed to media – watching TV, playing video games, online messaging, or listening to music online. The internet can be an enriching and educational resource for kids, but excessive exposure can lead to harmful effects.

What do you do about it? Especially now that the holiday season has passed, and with it have come new presents and gadgets around your home for the kids to play with. Whether you’ve gotten your child a device as a present, or they were gifted one by another loved one, we’ve compiled some tips to make it easier to manage those devices at home right from the get-go and make parenting during the New Year less stressful.

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9 Fun Holiday Activities for Kids Away From the Screen

The holidays are a wonderfully festive time, filled with food, family, and fun. But they can also be stressful. You have family coming over. Kids are on vacation from school, and they’re spending all of their time at home. It’s easy to give yourself a break and let the kids have some playtime on their devices. Are there any screen time alternatives for your kids to occupy their time? Not to worry. We’ve curated some fun, screen-free activities from trusted sources across the internet.

Happy girl talking to her grandfather during dinner at dining table.

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9 Holiday Shows and Movies (And More) to Inspire Gratitude

A meaningful holiday season is more about spending time with loved ones and creating meaningful memories than about shiny new toys and presents. Research shows focusing on gratitude regularly and mindfully can improve physical and emotional health, strengthen immune systems, and increase overall well-being and happiness.

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But, how do we get our children to cultivate a habit for gratitude amidst a season of wish lists and gift exchanges?  In addition to dinnertime or bedtime rituals to encourage thankfulness for daily blessings, curling up with classic movies and culturally diverse media can help reinforce positive messages and kick off a conversation about gratitude.

Get started with the 16 movies, books, and apps highlighted below.

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Using Digital Media to Teach Kids About Gratitude

Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings and expressing appreciation. But should being grateful be reserved for just one day a year? So many studies now show a gratitude mindset, when practiced daily, can lead to happier lives. What a wonderful skill and muscle to develop as a family and with our children.

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The holidays can mean travel time, out of school time and – extended family time. For many families, it can also mean – screen time. As you’re navigating what to put on your children’s screens, try the media below to cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude through the storylines there.

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7 Ways To Encourage Mindful Technology Usage at Home

Research shows that children ages 5-16 spend an average of at least six hours a day on their screens. Children having this level of accessibility to screens and devices at home is a relatively new phenomenon, but research already indicates that too much screen time negatively impacts children.

Since access to devices and screens aren’t going away (and will likely only increase), parents now look for opportunities to give children the mindset and toolkit to live with technology, especially as they grow up and make their own choices. We’ve curated 7 top tips that encourage children to be mindful of how they use their devices at home so they can receive the positive benefits of technology, while avoiding the downsides of overuse.

Happy African American mother and her little daughter using laptop.

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Q3 2018 Social Impact Report

Kids in Crisis – A Glimpse Into the Secret, Digital Lives of Students

Anxiety, depression and suicide attempts are on the rise among American teens, and too often signs and symptoms of these conditions go unreported, undetected or untreated–until it’s too late. A 2017 study links anxiety, depression, suicide attempts and suicide with the rise in use of smartphones, tablets and other devices. And while it’s no secret that technology has become one of the root causes of the spike, it can also be part of the solution. The goal of this impact report is to bring these issues to light, and to help parents and schools be proactive in identifying and addressing potential problems as soon as they are detected.

Securly is on a mission to ensure kids’ safety  and promote a kid-friendlier internet. As the leading provider of cloud-based web filtering and device monitoring for schools, Securly is on the front lines of the secret digital lives of students, with unprecedented visibility into the struggles they deal with daily. Securly offers a range of products and tools ranging from sophisticated AI that recognizes signs of bullying, depression and suicide to 24-hour support from a trained team of Safety Analysts who escalate issues directly to schools and parents.

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Beware of Cyberbullying: 9 Apps To Watch Out For

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Cyberbullying can happen at any time. Abuse and harassment online often follow children home from school, and kids often feel like there is no escape. As a parent, you want your child to be able to explore the internet safely. And they can, with adequate knowledge of the risks involved. Check out our blog for tips on keeping your child safe online.

It’s also important to be aware. Here is a list of sites and apps where cyberbullying commonly occurs.

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The 10 Types of Cyberbullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and schools across the United States are standing up against bullying, and educating on prevention. But before we work to prevent it, it’s important to understand what cyberbullying is.

Surprised female student looking at mobile phone Continue reading