Significant K-12 EdTech Safety Disparities Discovered Among Marginalized Demographics in New Internet Safety Labs Report
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Internet Safety Labs, a non-profit technology product safety watchdog, today announced a new report, “Demographic Analysis of App Safety, Website Safety, and School Technology Behaviors in US K-12 Schools.” The findings, an extension of ISL’s nationwide K-12 EdTech Safety Benchmark, provide an in-depth look at glaring disparities in school technology practices, especially in low-income schools and schools with majority black or indigenous students.
Funded with support from the Internet Society Foundation, the new research sheds light on app safety, school website safety, and school technology practices across five demographic lenses: grade Level, school locale, school income level, school majority race and school size. The report unveils the stark reality that the nation’s most marginalized students are being subjected to privacy risks at a higher rate while simultaneously potentially suffering from a digital divide from their peers in different demographic segments.
Systemic technology vetting appears to be having a small, positive effect on the average percentage of apps with ads and behavioral ads in school portfolios. The causal relationship is tenuous, however, with schools in the $120K and above income segment having the highest rate of tech vetting and one of the highest rates of apps. ISL has championed a “less is more” position regarding recommended and required technologies in schools, but with this research, ISL wonders about the impact of too little technology.
The report includes a comprehensive list of recommendations for schools, school districts, and policymakers, such as removing digital ads and advertising-related trackers from all school websites.
“This analysis was exploratory in nature, and we didn’t know what it would show. Our ongoing analysis of the US EdTech benchmark data continues to yield important discoveries. We hope that local education agencies and policymakers can make good use of the findings and recommendations from this report,” said Lisa LeVasseur, executive director of Internet Safety Labs. “We’re also available to help schools establish tech vetting and software vendor management practices.”
Internet Safety Labs invites experts, business leaders and individuals interested in advancing standards for software product safety and ethical Internet practices to visit its website to learn more about how to work with ISL.
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