Should Schools Monitor Social Media of their Students?

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This is an on-going debate and there are evidence and support on both sides of the coin: why should schools monitor social media of their students and why they shouldn’t? Those who are in favor of not monitoring think that their freedom of speech and civil rights are being compromised by letting the schools monitor their kids’ social media. But others think that many dangerous situations and crimes can be prevented with the help of monitoring at the right time. After all, it is all for students’ safety.

Ever since the approach has been introduced, there have been controversies about it, but there are a large number of schools that are moving forward with this approach for school and students’ safety. After the debate about whether schools should monitor their accounts or not, the big question is how they should be doing it? What should be their course of action to make sure they identify the threat at the right time.

What Threats Can Be Identified Through Social Media Monitoring?

Teens and social media is a trendy topic that has been the point of debate for years now. Kids are seen using social media frequently and it has affected most of their lives. Now, social media is there with them whenever they are awake or about to sleep. They check their phones, wait for the comments, and post-everything over there. With the rise of its use, social media has given them the platform to express their view about anything.

This is what schools can look for. Since kids share and express everything on social media, they are more likely to express their emotions too. They express when they fight, when they don’t feel like talking to someone, or when they are depressed and on the verge of doing something dangerous.

Threats like cyberbullying, cutting, and suicidal ideations can be recognized through the social media of kids. And, since most of it starts at school, they feel a responsibility towards preventing anything bad from happening. As soon as they get to know that anything bad is going to happen, they can take this to the next level and prevent it by using effective techniques.

How Do Schools Monitor Social Media of Students?

School is the place where your kids spend most of their time. So, school culture matters the most. Where the kids are learning and exploring new opportunities at school, at the same time, many dangerous things take a start at school. Kids fall into fights, develop grudges, and soon they take it to the next level when everything goes unmonitored.

Schools monitoring social media is not about getting into private emails, hacking into their accounts, or accessing their private messages. It is not about penetrating deep into their personal lives.

It works by tracking some of the public mentioned keywords that account for threats like cutting, cyberbullying, and suicide. There are specific social media monitoring tools that work on this very principle where they track certain keywords to account for the danger that might be becoming. These keywords can like guns, bullets, knives, cutting, depression, etc.

When these keywords are set up in the required and excluded section of the tool, it notifies the team whenever these are used in the phrases with other words. This way the staff members can quickly identify the danger that is associated with a certain student. This gives them the head start to investigate further what is going on.

How Does It Prevent Dangerous Situations?

We know that the youth in your schools is media-obsessed and simpler issues like bullying have taken the next form due to technology advancement. 95% of teens have access to their smartphones while 85% are on YouTube, 72% on Instagram and Facebook. Bottom line is that today’s students are always online.

Issues that students face today are not originally induced by social media, instead, those issues are exaggerated and taken to the next level by the use of social media. Some of these issues are bomb threats, acts of violence in the classroom, shooting, cyberbullying, depression, and suicide. According to the latest statistics, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-14 years old. 

This is why schools have decided to play an active role in preventing these dangers from happening. Through the posts kids are sharing, the content they are searching, and the types of comments they are making, their mental state can be analyzed. Furthermore, they can be observed and any related issue with them can be identified by knowing what they are doing in school.

Does it affect their privacy?

Although kids are almost all the time on social media, there are plenty of things over there that they do for fun. This includes posting threatening images, making inappropriate comments in the context of being funny, and making lame jokes. If these things are taken seriously, they might not get us anywhere because of the non-serious attitude of the kids.

But, with the history of school crimes and teen violence, it is impossible to think that they are safe on their own. As far as their privacy is concerned, schools are not invading their private chats and knowing their secrets. With this keyword research, it is all about just finding out if there is a threat somewhere. Schools are responsible for what they do with the information they extract so they can’t use it for the wrong purpose at all.

The Reaction of Parents

There are parents on both sides of the coin, some want to proceed with it and some think it is a violation of their and kids’ privacy. However, parents should take an active part in this process and keep an eye on their kids on their own too. They can use parental control apps like SecureTeen to monitor their kids’ social media accounts for their betterment. With the rise of crimes everywhere, parents should cooperate with the schools for their kids’ better future.

Reference Articles:

https://brand24.com/blog/should-schools-monitor-students-in-social-media/

https://www.wired.com/story/algorithms-monitor-student-social-media-posts/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/06/us/social-media-monitoring-school-shootings.html

http://www.secureteen.com/social-media/social-media-depression