Central Texas school district warns parents about alarming trend involving threats sent via Airdrop

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT

COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) - Across the nation, students are finding more ways to send threats to fellow classmates at the tip of their fingers, oftentimes, through Apple devices’ Airdrop feature.

The Copperas Cove Independent School District in Central Texas told KWTX it has not gotten any of these threats, but the district sent a letter to parents alerting them about the trend.

CCISD’s director of digital learning and innovation, Holly Landez, said the school prides itself on teacher-students lesson both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Even though that type of thing has not occurred here, it’s important to us that we’re teaching our students to behave responsibly in all areas of online use. Whether it’s in the classroom or on their personal devices,” said Landez, who added the district is educating students about their digital footprint.

“If we’re posting negative things or inappropriate things, that can influence our employability in the future,” said Landez.

Texas A&M-Central Texas Computer Information Systems Assistant Professor, Abhijit Nag, said there are a few qualifications for the Airdrop feature to work.

“For Airdrop to work, generally, all of the devices should be a part of the same Wi-Fi and also connected to Bluetooth,” said Nag, who added it can be difficult tracking down who originally sent a threat via the Airdrop feature.

He said avoiding an Airdrop is as simple as hitting decline or switch the settings to contacts only.

“Anyone from your contact list, if they share, you know the person. But if you get something outside of your contact list, it’s hard to find out who that person is,” said Nag.

Landez said CCISD’s top priorities are preparation and safety for students at all grade levels. “We want to make sure that they are keeping themselves safe so they are not vulnerable to anyone who may have bad intentions,” she said.

This week is CCISD’s Digital Citizenship Week.

The district says it’s necessary to teach students the importance of managing good digital practices.