Securly 24: Saving Lives One Call At A Time

Since 2015, Auditor and Filter have used AI-based technology to flag messages of grief and bullying in emails, social media posts, and Internet searches. When a concerning message is detected, automated email alerts are sent to the IT admin in that district. But we knew we could do one better. So last September, we released securly:// 24 to the world.

Welcome to our 24 Student Safety Operations. This combines our Auditor and Filter sentiment analysis algorithm with a team of Student Safety Analysts who conduct risk analysis in real time on alerts flagged for suicide, depression, self-harm, and bullying. If the alert indicates imminent danger for the student, our analysts notify designated emergency contacts from the school immediately.

Even better? Our analysts are able to review the student’s previous alerts and search activity to form a more complete picture of the situation. This kind of insight means that we can help a suicidal student who vaguely emailed a friend they were in pain, but searched “how to kill yourself” on Google 5 minutes later.

“Securly has unique insight to student’s online activities and our analysts are trained to use this information to identify students experiencing real threats to their safety,” says Kathy Boehle, Director of Securly’s 24 Student Safety Operations. “Students aren’t always straightforward when communicating via email. Often Securly’s search data can clarify which students are a little sad, and which students are desperate and need immediate help.”

After a few short months, 34 lives have been saved. Here are just a few of those stories:

Suicide Prevention: 6 Warning Signs You Need To Know

welcome-parent

Thanks to Part 1, we know how suicides can happen, and what factors can contribute to those feelings. Now, we’ll take a look at how those suicidal thoughts manifest through actions, and how you can catch them when they happen.

Continue reading

7 Ways to Encourage Body Positivity

Studies show that by the time kids reach pre-adolescence “tween” years, 40% of girls consider themselves overweight. 45% of boys and girls in grades 3-6 want to be thinner. And 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.

Body positivity is a sensitive topic to address with children. Their experiences with self-esteem and body image are often fraught with mixed messages from their social environment and media. But with support from parents and loved ones, it can be achieved.

We’ve compiled 7 strategies to help you not only set the stage for your kids to have a positive and healthy experience with their bodies, but address any concerns or worries that do come up. 

Continue reading

Loneliness and Low Self-Esteem (Here’s How You Can Help!)

“You don’t understand!”

I’m sure many parents have heard this coming from their teenagers. You find yourself reflecting back to your own adolescent years as you watch your teen storm to their room, throw their backpack on the floor, and slam the bedroom door behind them.

You remember the rock n’ roll music, the fluffy hair, and the bright colored clothing. You didn’t have social media, access to oodles of information at your fingertips or even privacy when it came to talking to your friends on the home phone. It feels like a lifetime ago. How could you possibly relate?

Your teen’s experience isn’t so different than your own. Teens still experience the pressure to fit in, the pressure to date, the pressure to perform academically, and the fear of failure. Just as you once did. And when struggling to fit in, it’s all too easy to feel out of place and lonely. Sometimes, teens choose to isolate themselves as a result of bullying. None of which helps with their self-esteem.

Continue reading

Valentine’s Day: We Found Love in an (Unexpected) Place

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and love (and cheesy Hallmark cards) are in the air! Kids are buying each other candy, flowers, and festive singing grams. It’s an exhilarating time for many. What’s not to like about being liked?

securly-student-safety-webinar-illustration-v7

Unless…you don’t feel liked. Valentine’s Day can quickly go from a fun holiday when everyone gets candy to a pressure-packed high school petri dish of hormones, crushes, and fragile self-esteem. We all enjoy feeling cared about, and having the looming cloud of V-doom lingering over you doesn’t help that expectation. It’s hard to be disappointed on what society tells us is the most romantic holiday ever. Like you’re missing out, and you’re the only one feeling that way. It’s called isolation, and it’s something no teenager (or general human being) wants to feel.

Continue reading

Helping Teenagers Overcome The Pressure of Sports

securly-helping-teenager-overcome-the-pressure-of-athletics-v2-01

5:30 am – wake up; 6:00 am – workout; 7:00 am – shower and breakfast; 8:00 am – school starts; 3:00 pm – school ends; 3:30 pm – after school practice; 6:00 pm – group project meeting; 7:00 pm – dinner at home; 8:00 pm – daily chores; 9:00 pm – homework and study; 12:00 am – sleep

The cycle repeats.

Teens carry a packed schedule as they try to balance sports and academics. They have little time for themselves between morning and evening practices, a full schedule of classes, and keeping up with their responsibilities at home. Regardless of physical exhaustion and the lack of sleep, teens continue to strive to meet the expectations of parents, peers, and coaches. The pressure to continuously perform can take a toll on a teenager’s mental health.

Continue reading

Winter Blues: Warning Signs of Depression

blog-3-depression-01Wintertime is a season to snuggle up in blankets, drink warm cocoa, and stay cozy with family and friends in front of a warm hearth. Unfortunately, depression doesn’t follow a 9am-5pm schedule with a break for the holidays, and some of those very loved ones might be experiencing painful seasonal sadness.

Continue reading

Suicide Prevention: Behind Their Minds

securly-september-suicide-prevention

September means Back to School! There’s excitement in the air as families rush to the Target aisles to buy notebooks, pens, and materials for a promising year full of new experiences. As exciting as Back to School can be, kids can feel scared and overwhelmed. For many, it can feel too overwhelming. September also happens to be National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, an occasion to spotlight an issue that is growing among youths, and one that shows no signs of slowing down.

Youth suicide is a major cause of death during the crucial years when they should be building healthy interactions with their peers, constructing positive self-images, and forming important social bonds. According to 2015 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death in children aged 10-14.

Many suicides occur in isolation, while others are clustered in back-to-back succession around the same school or district. Many school authorities and administrations are baffled as to what is causing their students to kill themselves with alarming frequency. Could it be an increasingly rigorous academic schedule? Is it from bullying and social pressure to be attractive, cool, liked?

There are many reasons why this could be happening. Social pressure and lack of support can be contributors, as well as anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic disorders, and other psychological disorders which can impact suicidal intent. Kids struggling with anxiety disorders are more likely than mentally healthy people to have suicidal thoughts, make suicide attempts, or complete suicide. When it comes to depression, according to researchers, a specific occurrence of hopelessness in depressed people, rather than the depression as a whole, is a stronger indicator of suicidal feelings. That means that a depressed child will not necessarily be suicidal, but that a child feeling hopeless during their depression will be more likely to want to kill themselves.

iStock_000085253045_Full.jpg

That being said, it is important to remember that not every child who is suicidal has a mental disorder, and not every person with a mental disorder is suicidal. Many factors contribute to why a kid may feel that way, and it’s important to pay attention to warning signs when they do. Kids who want to harm themselves or die typically will leave a number of clues that indicate their suicidal ideation or intention.

In our next blog post covering suicide, we’ll explore the warning signs that parents and teachers can look out for, and how to help your child when you find them.

If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741-741 to get connected with Crisis Text Line.