California's Glendale Unified school district has hired a company that will track the social media accounts of all of its 13,000 middle and high school students. The aim of the program is to stop inappropriate and/or potentially dangerous behavior in its tracks. But while some parents are praising the new level of protection for their kids, others are complaining that the new program is too "Big Brotherish."
The school district will pay about $40,000 to a company called Geo Listening to have students' accounts monitored. Geo Listening will collect information from students' posts on social media platforms -everything from Facebook to Instagram, to Twitter, to YouTube, and compile data into a daily report to be passed on to Glendale school officials. Posts will be categorized by frequency and how they relate to various key words such as cyberbullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy.
According to a district report, Geo Listening gives school officials "critical information as early as possible," allowing school employees "to disrupt negative pathways and make any intervention more effective." Glendale tested the service out last year on a few of the schools in their district and utilized the info gathered to act in a number of situations where they felt a student could come to harm.
Some parents are happy to know that their school district is taking issues like cyberbullying and suicide so seriously. But others are worried that this policy of "spying" on kids online will add an extra layer of stress and despair for kids that are already having a tough time in school.
Here's more about Glendale's new social media monitoring program from the school district superintendent, Dr. Richard Sheehan:
What do you think about Glendale's new initiative to monitor its students' social media accounts?
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