Print 18 comment(s) - last by KFZ.. on Sep 23 at 1:15 PM

A company called Geo Listening will do the monitoring

A California school district has hired a contractor to monitor the social networks of students in hopes of pinpointing suspicious behavior. 

The Glendale, California school district is paying $40,500 to the company Geo Listening for the social monitoring services. The firm will read Facebook, Twitter and other social network posts by 14,000 middle school and high school students in the district. It will only apply to students ages 13 and up (when parental permission isn't necessary for the school's new monitoring methods).

Geo Listening's exact methods for monitoring the sites or verifying that the students are, in fact, from the school district are unclear. But the firm said it will only view public posts (students can set their posts to private), and it searches for keywords to find any alarming posts. The firm has also learned the lingo of youths to catch those who may be speaking in code or in shorthand. The school is then given a full report of the company's findings. 

The district said it is employing this method in order to ensure the safety of its students. For instance, if a student posts about suicide, a fight or bringing weapons to school, the district wants to know so that an intervention can take place. 

It also wants to know when other inappropriate acts are taking place on school grounds, such as drug use and skipping class.

Prior to the $40,000 contract, the school district took part in a pilot test of the monitoring program with Geo Listening. For $5,000, the firm monitored 9,000 students' social networks in the district last spring. 

According to the Glendale school district's Superintendent Richard Sheehan, the pilot was successful in countering a possible student suicide. The firm also found that a student posted a picture of a gun, and once investigated, it turned out the gun was fake and the student wasn't disciplined. But Sheehan said the monitoring has proved to be a valuable tool. 

"We were able to save a life," said Sheehan. "It's just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety."

However, many are worried that the students are being spied on. Parents are concerned that their children's privacy is being invaded by the firm's monitoring methods, and are further concerned about how their children will be reprimanded if they post something questionable on a social site (for instance, will the child's parents be called in when something happens? Will this allow students to be punished for merely saying something negative about the school?).

Do you think the monitoring will be effective? And is it spying, or a safety precaution?

Source: CNN

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Quit putting your entire life on the Internet.
By SAN-Man on 9/17/2013 11:38:56 AM , Rating: 5
We didn't have this problem 10 years ago because people understood what PRIVACY was.

If you are stupid enough to use your REAL NAME on a PUBLIC WEBSITE with little to no true access control then by god, you deserve what you get.

If this information was not created and made available by users then people wouldn't be looking for it.

And for sites like Facebook which have some limited access control, here's an idea - DON'T FRIEND PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW. Honestly, do you let anyone in your front door? Then why in the HELL would you friend random people you don't know?

By Jeffk464 on 9/17/2013 11:54:12 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately its so much easier to use your facebook account to post comments that basically you end up using your real name all over the place.

RE: Quit putting your entire life on the Internet.
By Jeffk464 on 9/17/2013 11:56:51 AM , Rating: 3
Personally I think school's are obligated to protect their students from being bullied at school. When the kids get home however, it the responsibility of the parents to monitor their own kids. The government was never intended to be a substitute for parents.

By Shig on 9/17/2013 9:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Little kids don't know any better. They need proper education on social networking similar to sex education. By the time kids figure out they shouldn't have done something online it's already too late for them usually.

High speed internet and the current state of the internet is one of the most powerful tools available, for better or worse.

Most parents are SO far behind their kids technologically, they don't even know how to educate them. Kids are sexting one another by the time they hit 6th and 7th grade, then parents are like wtf is sexting, rabble rabble rabble.

By KFZ on 9/23/2013 1:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
Wholly, people absolutely did not understand privacy, recent or in distant history. There has simply never existed technology that encourages and thereupon vomits your private information to the public like there is now.

To say nothing of how, year after year, Facebook has continued to push once private information (by default) into public viewing and doesn't actually delete your information.

Everywhere you go on the Internet, you need to behave like you are being recorded. It's not been forgotten, it's been killed.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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