Australian schools are using computer software to monitor students for signs of radicalization, according to media reports.
Fairfax media reported on Friday that more than 10 schools had installed surveillance software onto its pupil’s school-supplied computers to detect for political extremism.
The software alerts the principal and wellbeing officers when students search for specific terms over the internet.
Students’ emails are also filtered, with a messages deemed to be from extremist group intercepted before the student is exposed to the content.
Jeremy Ludowyke, principal of Melbourne High School, one of the schools that has implemented the spyware, said parents and students had been consulted before it was introduced.
Ludowyke said the software was important to control “the seamier side of the internet” while students were in their care, while promoting the educational benefits of proper Information Technology (IT) usage.
“Schools realize we need to respond to this (threat of radicalization) more now than they did five years ago,” Ludowyke told Fairfax media on Friday.
Victorian education minister James Merlino told Fairfax media that in June there was “no doubt” young people were being targeted for recruitment by extremist groups like Islamic State (IS).
However, the minister on Friday said there is “no evidence that (Australian) students are being targeted at school”.
Across the nation, 400 schools are already keeping watch of students’ social media profiles and search engine terms for any signs of cyber bullying, self-harm or other forms of anti-social behavior.