NewsCovering Kern County


Taft mother says daughters, nephew exposed to pornographic images during distance learning session

Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 21:02:48-04

TAFT, Calif. — It was the last call Nicole Gibson was expecting to receive Tuesday, as her daughters were in the middle of a distance learning session at her aunt's home.

Gibson was informed by her aunt that her daughters and nephew, who are in elementary school, were exposed to pornographic images that popped-up on the devices their schools provided them for distance learning.

"She gave me a call letting me know that she had taken my daughter off of her computer, because something had popped up with a man's private parts," Gibson said.

Other explicit photos would also pop up for the other two children within hours of each other.

Gibson's aunt Katrina Goads said "I turned around to where my grandson was and the picture was already there, and it put me in panic mode."

According to Gibson, all three children go to different elementary schools, use different video-conferencing platforms to log into their class, but all connected to the same home WiFi.

Her nephew attends a school within the Elk Hills School District. They released a statement Wednesday saying in part, "We immediately started an internal investigation while working with the family. It was determined this was not a "Zoom Bombin" hacking incident as was originally believed and was rather an isolated incident that was a result of a compromised WiFi network within the home"

Gibson's daughters attend schools within the Taft Union School District. They did not provide a statement after multiple requests from 23ABC News.

Terry McGraw, a cybersecurity expert and president of PC Matic, said there are several steps parents could take to secure their child's computer, as thousands of students are using home WiFi networks during distance learning across the state.

"The first thing is ensure the WiFi is locked down with a good password and is not the default setting," McGraw said. "Second thing you should do is have a Virtual Private Network so that the communication tunnel between your student and the school is secure and the last thing is to make sure the device they are using itself has sufficient protections with anti-virus."

Meantime, the Taft Police Department says they are aware of the incident involving Gibson's family and that the Kern County Sheriff's Office school resource officers are investigating the matter.

According to KCSO, the investigation will be turned over to the Taft Police Department at some point.