Inappropriate messages pop up on APS student’s laptop


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Virtual learning has been a challenge for everyone during the pandemic but for one Albuquerque Public Schools student, it became a reminder for parents to monitor their student’s computer activity. It’s the start of week two of distance learning at Petroglyph Elementary.

Gretchen Gonzales is the grandmother of a student at Petroglyph. Messages started to pop up on her granddaughter’s Chromebook. At first, Gonzales says the messages were harmless but then quickly got worse. “That’s when I saw the explicit, inappropriate messages. I looked across the toolbar and it said kitty cat chat,” said Gonzales.

Mortified, Gonzales said she quickly turned off the Chromebook and took it to the district where APS Police confiscated the laptop. “We are the first family, the detective said that they’ve had this happen,” Gonzales said.

As if having to navigate this school year with remote learning wasn’t challenging enough, Gonzales says having these messages pop up on the screen made it even more difficult for her granddaughter to stay focused.

“She’s distracted with those messages on her screen. I’m just so glad she doesn’t know what they mean,” Gonzales said.

A spokesperson with APS says the student’s Chromebook was not hacked but that it was malware. APS technicians found notifications were turned on from a gaming website that prompted inappropriate messages. The district has now blocked that website but encourages all parents and guardians to monitor their child’s internet activity.

Again, APS says the computer was not hacked and the computer may have been compromised by someone trying to get on that gaming website. Gonzales says the district is giving them a new computer Tuesday morning.

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