A Southern California school district has hired a company to monitor what the middle-school and high school students are doing on social media and guess what? Some kids are not too happy about being all Big Brother’d as they post their updates on which New Direction band member is totally kewl or what lipgloss works best in a duck-face selfie. Just kidding teens! I love you all and I have no idea what you do on social media unless it is bullying someone to death or gossiping about a rape. I can understand why teens are creeped out by this, because it is invasive, and I do think it’s the parent’s job to know exactly what their kids are doing online, and I’m also pretty shocked at what this is all costing. From USA Today:
In Southern California, the district is paying $40,500 to Geo Listening, and in exchange, the company’s computers scour public posts by students on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs and other sites. Analysts are alerted to terms that suggest suicidal thoughts, bullying, vandalism and even the use of obscenities, among other things. When they find posts they think should spur an intervention or anything that violates schools’ student codes of conduct, the company alerts the campus.
Then the campus decides if more action needs to be taken or if parents need to be contacted.
Daily reports to school administrators include a screen capture of the flagged posts, along with details of whether they were made on or off campus, the time and date, the user’s name, if available, and a description of why the post caught the attention of analysts, Frydrych said.
If it stems bullying and the harassment of students it’s a good thing, but I think it’s a bit unfair to be watching everything teens say because as a mom of a teen I can tell you, they say some pretty stupid things. And they usually don’t mean them.
Back in the way way back when people drove cars to work that were powered by feet like on the Flinstones and I was a student in middle school, we had these things called Slam Books that we used to pass around and gossip in. I don’t remember them being very mean though, it was mainly stuff like “Who do you think is cute?” and “What Josie And The Pussycats Character Are You?” Most of the girls my age also kept these magical things called journals where we would write our deepest thoughts and/or poetry about Adam Ant and how we were going to marry John Taylor from Duran Duran one day. We didn’t feel like we had to share these things with everyone in the cafeteria. I think teens should be monitored on social media especially if they they are talking about dangerous or cruel things, but I also think they deserve their privacy. I think we should all bring back diaries and journals and make those trendy amongst teens again! Lisa Frank notebooks for everyone!
(Image: Lisa Frank.com)