CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Technology is becoming more and more integrated to your kid's learning experience.
Cape Central High School has gone as far to give each student a laptop in their 1:1 initiative.
However, you might be surprised how some students are using these devices not for school - but for sexting.
“You have to hope that you can trust your kids," said parent Elizabeth Seesing. "You have to hope that the filters that have been put into place by the district work appropriately. And again, I guess it just comes down to an issue of trust.”
But the temptation proved to be too much for a few Cape Central students who had technology at their fingertips.
A handful of students used their school issued laptops to sext.
“Unfortunately we had instances of sexting long before we went to 1:1," said Principal, Dr. Mike Cowan. "So that’s been a part of school discipline for some time now.”
School administrators say the 1:1 program levels the playing field for students without access to computers at home.
But when those devices leave school property, some students abuse the technology.
“We can we very much monitor our students while they’re in our presence during the school day," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sherry Copeland. "When they are home we rely on parents to monitor their students.”
Dr. Cowan said they haven’t seen a marked increase in sexting since administering the laptops, due in part to preventive measures.
"And as far as our infrastructure we actually have a really strong firewall in the district," said Dr. Copeland. "So students cannot access anything at home that they can’t access at school.”
So how are some cheating the system?
Dr. Copeland said the downloadable chat software “Skype” is often used in the classroom as a learning tool, but it’s also one way students have tried to bypass those firewalls and misuse the laptop‘s built-in camera.
Still, administrators say turning off that service would do more harm educationally than good.
“Set some guidelines as far as what their family values, their family expectations are within the home as they’re using technology," said Dr. Cowan.
Senior Kirk Seesing said he had no idea some of his peers were sexting with their devices, but even without that knowledge he’s not sure about the program’s success.
“In as many places it does help the teaching environment, it does help the teaching environment. But it also is a detriment and a distraction.”
Each student signs a technology agreement. If they break that the school has set consequences.
Dr. Cowan says parents alerted them to the isolated cases.
Some parents took their concerns to the police, as well.
Five incidents involving sexting on Cape Central laptops were reported to Cape police officers. No charges have been filed.
Officers told us sexting is difficult to investigate, especially when minors are involved.
There’s no state law against sexting so they have to look at the content of the message and determine if it falls under harassment or if both parties were willing participants.
"The laws are having to catch up with the technology and the internet," said Cape Girardeau Police Officer Darin Hickey. "Sometimes technology advances so fast that the laws can’t keep up.”
Officer Hickey adds that while the internet is positive in many ways, it can also be very dangerous.
He says once you put something out there, you can never get it back.