ALL NEWS

Utah kids accessing explicit material on school databases, lawmakers urged to do more

Sep 17, 2020, 6:07 AM
explicit material...
Earle Foote, CEO of Nexus IT Consultants, says to improve internet safety, parents need to be involved in their children's online activity. (Stock Photo)
(Stock Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – Children are accessing explicit material on school databases, and Utah lawmakers are trying to solve the problem. 

The databases, like the Utah Education Network (UEN), are supposed to be private portals for students to do online searches safely. 

But Utah Empowered Families Coalition President, Nicholeen Peck, told lawmakers on Wednesday that material can be uploaded onto the database with no safeguards, as traditional internet filters are of no use on private networks. 

“If [kids] go through a database, the filters do not filter anything in the database. They can’t,” explained Peck. “So, the material makes it directly back to the child without stopping at a school filter.”   

Michelle Boulter, who sits on the Utah State School Board, is also concerned. 

“We are selling the [Utah Education Network] as a safe place for children to do their research, and it’s providing a false sense of security,” Boulter said. 

The concerns on explicit material 

It’s not only explicit images, which have been seen by kids as young as six. Parents are also reporting links to adult sites and inappropriate stories. Additionally, some worry predators can reach children through the portal.  

And there are more concerns as many students are using personal computers and devices, as some districts are holding classes online.

It’s unclear who or how many people have uploaded explicit content to the portals.  

This isn’t the first time databases like UEN have been accused of having explicit content or links to adult material. A few years ago, UEN was temporarily suspended for the same issue.

Tooele Education Association President, Robert Gowans, said it can be difficult for schools to find and fix the problems. 

“With their limited resources, they cannot handle the barrage of material that’s being sent through databases,” Gowans said.  

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to study a solution. Some ideas floated during the meeting included increasing penalties for the database companies or dumping the databases altogether and switching to regular search engines with strong filters.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Troy Dunn, founder of the Location Foundation, appears on an episode of Dr. Phil. Photo credit: Des...
Mark Jones

Locator Foundation working to reunite loved ones with one another

The Locator Foundation is working to reunite family members who have become separated from one another and haven't been able to reconnect.
1 day ago
Martin Gold, a visiting scholar with the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, says the Filibuster is critical...
Mark Jones

Filibuster is critical if country is to maintain compromise, expert says

A visiting scholar to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation told Inside Sources Friday how important the filibuster is to compromise.
1 day ago
Two hands holding a green plant by the soil above empty pots...
Michelle Lee

Transplanting houseplants? Here are some tips!

SALT LAKE CITY – If you’re growing houseplants, there’s something you need to be familiar with, and that is transplanting. Transplanting houseplants is something you have to do every so often, depending on the type of plant. “Some houseplants will go for several years without needing it, and others need to be transplanted at least […]
1 day ago
A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
1 day ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Utah kids accessing explicit material on school databases, lawmakers urged to do more