California District Monitoring Students’ Social Media

Glendale, California’s school district is paying over $40,000 to a firm to report on the14,000 middle and high school students’ posts on their Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. At first, it sounds outlandish, the sort of thing we read in 1984. But what if I told you that just last spring, the same firm that the Glendale school district is paying for was able to successfully intervene with a student who was having suicidal thoughts that he posted on social media? Take into consideration that, according to the superintendent of the schools, there have been two cases of students committing suicide in the district and you have a plausible motive. The question I ask here is, would you like it if your statuses and tweets were being monitored? Personally, I can see both sides of the argument and it’s tough for me to take a position. On one hand, you have your personal thoughts and feelings basically being searched and looked a throughly by somebody who you don’t even know. That same argument can be turned around though. With these people monitoring you, you have the added security feeling that someone is watching, kind of like a guardian angel of your social media. For example, the firm found out about a student holding what looked to be a gun in a photo posted on social media. While it ended up being fake, the fact that the school was able to talk to the student about the situation shows that a further situation could have (and probably was) avoided.

Here’s the link to the article if anyone wants to check it out.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/14/us/california-schools-monitor-social-media/

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4 thoughts on “California District Monitoring Students’ Social Media

  1. jscillitani

    In response to the question you posed, I am unsure how to answer it as well because realistically, if my tweets and statuses were monitored I have nothing to hide and I would not be too worried about getting into any sort of trouble, but I also would like to have my freedom and not feel like my every move is being watched, including what I post as a status. This type of question is a hard one to respond to, because as you said, there are so many arguments that are valid for both sides. If i had to give a straight answer though, I would most likely say that I did not mind having my statuses and tweets monitored. I think I would say things differently if I knew they were being monitored, but even the way I tweet and post statuses now, I do not have anything to hide from anyone and I wouldn’t mind them being monitored for a good cause (if that is truly all they are being monitored for).

    Reply
  2. laurenreesebenson

    Thats an interesting question.. I think Its a bold move to have the students facebooks, instagrams and twitters monitored, but in the case of the suicidal boy it was something very positive that came from it. Although it may be in an infringement upon the students who are being monitored, it was used for good. But in some cases it may also be a negative outcome because of the fact that students might get in trouble for things that they post regarding drinking, smoking and partying. I dont think its fair to punish students based on what they do outside of school because thats not the schools responsibility. Until something like bullying comes into play, I dont think its very right to intervene.

    Reply
  3. GabbyG

    Ehhh I’m kind of on the fence about this one. While yes, proaction is always better than reacting, I do think that this is an invasion of privacy. I think this really brings up the question of where does the school’s jurisdiction end. I remember a few years back a big issue was whether or not schools had the right to punish kids that got into fights outside of school property. While yes, schools should be concerned with the entire welfare of a student, I believe this is overstepping boundaries and that the school should only monitor children during school hours and on school property.

    Reply
  4. miguelalex888

    Well there has to be a line between trying to protect students and just straight up invading their privacy. Personally I think this crosses it.
    Noble cause, but hey, you know what they say about the road to hell…
    I mean, we can stick a camera in the student’s room so that we can monitor everything they do…then we’re sure to capture them before their suicidal tendencies get the better of them!
    Or you know, we can provide proper counseling and a safe haven for kids to come up and talk about their problems.
    There are other answers to the problem, answers that are not so creepy and authoritarian as having your school look through your facebook and twitter.

    Reply

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