Why Millions Of Parents Were Sent Explicit Photo In School Messaging App

Seesaw's individual user accounts were hacked, and millions of users were sent a pornographic image of a man performing an explicit act.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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School messaging apps have become one of the most popular ways for schools to send important information to parents. But this week, Seesaw, one of the most popular applications used to support over 10 million students nationwide, proved just how dangerous this technology can be. The app sent potentially millions of parents a vulgar image, and here’s how it happened.

Seesaw messaging lets parents and schools communicate quickly and effortlessly. But yesterday, many parents went to open a message they likely thought to be from their children’s school, only to be greeted with a vulgar image of male nudity. The company was quickly made aware of the situation and responded to the indecent incident.

In their official statement, Seesaw said the pornographic image was sent after the messaging application was hacked. They remain adamant that the rest of their software was not compromised. It is unknown how many people received the message, but The Daily Wire and Vice noted that parents throughout Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, New York, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Michigan reportedly received the image. 

Some parents were sent the nude photo directly on the Seesaw app. Others were sent a bit.ly link directing them to a site that displayed the image. Vice confirmed that the picture was that of a well-known internet meme.

G2T will not reshare the image due to its indecency, however, the image in question was confirmed to go by the name “Goatse.” It depicts a man performing an explicit act. Vice also believes that many students were sent the image as well.

Districts all over the country reportedly sent their teachers, families, and students messages warning them about the Seesaw incident. In Dayton, Ohio, parents were told it was a virus. Huber Heights City School District told families that they disabled the login for students until further notice.

Seesaw appears to remain open and transparent about the hack, offering families rolling updates as they unravel the situation. The company disabled the messaging service altogether yesterday evening. Additionally, they announced they were able to revoke the picture’s link from certain accounts. 

The company remains adamant that this has only affected isolated, individual user accounts. Seesaw confirms the software itself has not been affected as they forced users affected to update passwords to rectify the situation. However, even if the hacker may not have been able to obtain sensitive individual data, it sheds light on a growing concern in public education. 

Cyberattacks like the one with Seesaw are happening on the school front at an alarming rate. Just last week, the nation’s 2nd largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, was hit with a massive cyber attack that shut down systems districtwide. Last year, at least half of all school districts across the country reported some type of cyber attack.


Early this morning, Seesaw announced that all messaging services are now turned back on. It remains unclear who the hacker or group of hackers were, as the company promises families and schools that their private information remains safe. Despite this assurance, parents are more worried than ever before about the safety of their children’s private information, as cyberattacks against schools become more frequent.