George Orwell prophesied it in his classic novel 1984 — a story about a Utopian society in which every move was monitored. What was once a fantasy, however, could now be a dastardly reality for American teenagers.
In a vain attempt to “protect” the middle and high school students of America, school districts are now considering invading the privacy of their students.
Glendale Unified School District, located in Los Angeles County, hired a company to monitor the social media activity of its students. School officials say that they hope to achieve safety through the use of such programs in order to combat issues such as cyberbullying, mentions of drug use or criminal activity.
Apparently, Glendale is throwing about $40,000 a year at these people — and they may not be alone.
According to the president of Safe Outlook Corporation, a company that specializes in monitoring student’s social media, the number of schools participating in these types of programs is expected to go up.
“It’s like the student version of the NSA,” said Gabrielle Anne Rivera, junior. “They shouldn’t be allowed to monitor social media because it’s not like they’re going to do anything about it. Just like the NSA, it’s useless.”
For most schools, the idea of monitoring social media is considered somewhat of a gray area because it is legal for schools to search students if they feel the need, but does that extend outside of school hours?
The question shouldn’t be “is my school watching me,” but rather, “why would my school want to watch me?”
What a student does outside of school is what a student does outside of school. While I understand that school systems may feel morally responsible for the well-being of their students, having to go further by monitoring social activity is costing the school an unnecessary amount of money and time.
It’s not that schools don’t have the right to monitor social media, it’s that they shouldn’t have to. Making sure that kids aren’t stupid enough to post things on the Internet that they don’t want others to see isn’t a teacher’s job: it’s called “parenting.” Have you heard about that? Apparently, it’s a very effective to make sure that children aren’t ruining themselves or other children. Read about it sometime.