Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Big Brother May Be Watching Your Children in Class; 54 Schools Use Special Software to Monitor PC Usage

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Big Brother May Be Watching Your Children in Class; 54 Schools Use Special Software to Monitor PC Usage

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN O'DONOGHUE Local Government Reporter dan.odonoghue@trinitymirror.com @DanChronicle

SCHOOLS across the North East have been using software to "spy" on pupils, a campaign group has claimed.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch show that 54 schools in the region are using socalled classroom management software packages.

This technology can be used by schools to monitor pupils' internet activity, access their web history, block websites and check what is being typed into a computer.

Around PS142,568 was spent by schools in the region on this software, which was installed on a total of 22,172 computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

Nationally, around 1,420 secondary schools in England and Wales used the software at a cost of PS2.5m.

In its report, Big Brother Watch said that schools often consider buying the software to keep pupils safe online, or as part of their duty to help protect children from radicalisation.

But it added: "We are concerned that the use of technology which allows real-time monitoring is placing teachers unwittingly in the position of being Big Brother. "Forcing staff to oversee their pupils' every digital move represents a fundamental shift from the traditional method of overseeing pupils by engaging with them from the front of the class."

There is about the this sort of in Schools . are very aware of Malcolm " It went on to say: "Schools currently offer little explanation about the use of the software in their acceptable use policies.

"Pupils and parents, who have to sign such policies to say they agree to the use of the software, are therefore left completely in the dark. …

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