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Digital Safeguarding and Stress – How to spot silent sufferers before it impacts learning outcomes

Stress levels in independent school students have never been higher. An immense amount of pressure is felt by pupils competing to achieve the highest accolades. Immersed in cohorts of students all striving for the top, whether it’s to be part of the top 1% of academic achievers in the country, being excellent enough at sport to consider a professional career, or becoming Young Musician of the Year, a strong ATAR score can seem disappointing within this group of students if another student has achieved a higher. The fear of not achieving straight A's seems an unthinkable stress to many, but to a significant number of students, it is the case. 


Causes of anxiety and stress

The cost of private school education has risen significantly, with fees nearly twice the rate of inflation and outpacing wage growth every year for a decade. Where a private education was just a normal pathway for many families previously, an increasing amount of families now have to make significant financial sacrifices in order to achieve it. They may sacrifice family holidays, the type of accommodation they live in, or work extra hours to afford it. This can lead to very high expectations. Parents need to feel that the sacrifices have been worth it and that the fees they are paying will turn into top grades and achievements. Teachers also feel the pressure of the need for pupils to succeed, often encouraging students to undertake many hours of study and attend extra classes. This pressure of high expectations causes many students to work very hard to achieve their best. 


Many students will thrive from the pressure and be invigorated by the competitive environment. But for a small minority, the pressure can become overwhelming. Some students may spiral to breaking point where they're unable to cope. Students can become ill with anxiety and stress and may start to become withdrawn, show uncharacteristic moments of aggression and anger, have constant negative thoughts and lose confidence in achieving even the smallest of things. This can lead to underachievement and, for some, not being able to cope with being at school altogether.

Spotting the signs

It can be difficult for teachers to identify students with stress and anxiety. Many students will feel the pressure from time to time, but for the majority, it could be nothing more than a passing moment. Often the students spotted will be the louder, more expressive ones that can communicate their pressures to their teachers. But what about the silent sufferers? Stress and anxiety can build up over time. A student may not show outward signs until it has become a serious problem. At this point, they may already be suffering from panic attacks or have started being regularly absent from school both of whichare  factors that are likely to have already significantly impacted their academic achievement.

How digital safeguarding technology can help

Digital safeguarding technology is a discrete and intelligent solution that can pick up subtle behaviour signals which may indicate that a child is showing signs of risk or concern. Whether it be from a student’s internet search during a lesson or a message typed on their own device at recess, a good digital safeguarding solution will detect any signs of risk or concern even if they type a sentence and delete it straight away.  

Once risk is detected, alerts are triggered and sent straight to the school’s wellbeing staff. This allows staff to intervene and provide the support needed before any issues have a chance to develop.

To find out how schools can break down the invisibility cloak and guide their students to greater digital awareness and understanding, see our recent whitepaper, "Student digital safety and wellbeing - how to find and close the gaps. An essential guide for Australian Independent and Catholic schools."

Monitor White Paper_LP1 Front Cover

Related Download

Student digital safety and wellbeing - how to find and close the gaps.
An essential guide for Australian Independent and Catholic schools.

Our free practical white paper is designed to guide you through the challenges around student digital safety and wellbeing and build a positive digital culture.



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Learn More About Digital Safeguarding Technology

Topics: digital learning, digital wellbeing, digital safeguarding, digital safety

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