Certain schools are taking a stronger stand recently, paying outside companies to review students’ social media accounts, information easily accessible with online searching, for any possible safety concerns.
These companies alert campus officials when they detect potential threats, and such reports have shown troubling personal statements students write about their schools.
Problems Creating Problems
But is this hyper-active monitoring questionable? Some think so. School districts may be using these methods to combat a real problem, a weak or non-existent communication habit between students and school officials.
And if you’re thinking of labeling these schools as too intrusive, you’re not alone. Not only does cyber monitoring have the potential to create an uneasy atmosphere for the student body, CNN’s Kelly Wallace claims it could open districts up to a whole slew of legal issues.
To add to the concerns, some say it shifts the monitoring responsibility from the parents to the schools and focuses on responding only after the fact. Improving school culture to encourage and empower students to share troubling information to adults may be more on the mark.
A 2010 survey conducted by Youth Voice Project using data from over 12,000 students across the country, showed that although students knew that telling adults about personal problems at school was the standard procedure, only about one-third of students who were targeted by bullies believed telling adults would actually help.
Oh, the Possibilities
The potential benefits of keeping a strict eye on social media accounts is hard to ignore. If the school officials can respond to destructive behavior directed at young kids without causing anymore destruction themselves, like further exposure or embarrassment, it could be enough to save lives.
Additionally, security or safety concerns could be promptly addressed when a mass of tweets are detected during a school riot or a natural disaster.
In light of all the information, it’s clear there are problems in student to faculty communication and districts resorting to under-the-radar methods to keep tabs on their populations further confirm this reality.
As the debate continues on just what to do with all the social media tidbits from our youth, fortunately not all security solutions to school problems create such a divide. Technology will no doubt be integral, in many cases a necessity, to keep the campuses of today functioning as they should.