The overwhelming majority of parents and educators believe it is necessary to have online educational technology in place to prevent students from accessing harmful or explicit content. New polling from Morning Consult found that parents and educators alike have significant concerns for student mental health and a high level of support for schools using online technologies to help keep kids safe.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in online and distance learning as schools responded to the pandemic. While students are largely back in classrooms, the expanded use of education technology has remained intact. Unsurprisingly, 93 percent of parents and 98 percent of teachers and administrators agree the internet is a useful learning tool that schools should use as part of their learning process.

However, while education technology is viewed positively, parents and educators still have serious concerns. According to the polling, 74 percent of K-8 and 68 percent of 9-12 parents are concerned about students accessing explicit or harmful content while using a school-issued device. Teachers are even more concerned than parents, with 80 percent of teachers and educators expressing concerns.

Parents and educators agree that content moderation is essential to keeping students safe, and the majority of respondents said it was the school’s responsibility to ensure moderation is in place. More than 91 percent of respondents expressed support for online educational technologies to prevent students from accessing harmful or explicit content. Of those in favor of moderation technologies, more than 95 percent reported it is a school’s responsibility to put these tools in place.

Parents and educators also raised concerns about the impact technology can have on a student’s mental well-being. Specifically, more than 83 percent of K-12 parents, educators, and administrators feel a high level of concern for student mental health and violence in schools, and 72 percent of respondents agreed the internet plays a strong role in influencing students to harm themselves or others. More than 75 percent of respondents believe that unrestricted access to the internet on school-issued devices can be detrimental to student mental health.

To help prevent tragedies, nearly 90 percent of respondents support online educational technology that could help detect signs of a student considering harming themselves or others.

In addition to keeping students out of harm’s way, respondents also want technologies that keep students focused on learning. The overwhelming majority of respondents believe online educational technologies are “necessary to keep students on task and away from digital distractions.”

Read More About
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs