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School Districts Monitoring Students’ Social Media Posts – Good Idea or Going Too Far?

Kids online
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

When I was in school, the bullies were on the playground. Today, they stalk their prey on Facebook and other social media sites. Cyberbullying has led to an increase in teen suicides and many other problems. One school district in California has begun to monitor the social media posts of their students to identify potential problems and stop them before they become a problem.The district hired Geo Listening, a company that specializes in social network monitoring. The company scans the posts of the students looking for key words that could indicate something out of the ordinary and alerts the district to any potential problems.

I certainly understand the premise of this program, but is it really practical? The ‘Big Brother is watching’ practice has moved into many aspects of today’s society, but monitoring kids talking to each other like kids do could create more problems than it would solve.

What happens the first time a kid is venting to another friend about a problem and uses a key word that sets off a chain of events all because a computer program took a comment completely out of context? Chaos, that’s what.

Again, I understand the goal, but it seems like the only answer anymore is to monitor all of us 24/7 in an attempt to to prevent something from happening before it can happen. Monitoring our kids’ online conversations, while potentially useful, could create more problems than its worth.

There has to be a better way, unfortunately, I don’t know if anybody truly knows what that way would be.The big question I would have is who is going to monitor the people doing the monitoring?

[MSN.com]

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