Pros and Cons of Schools Monitoring Social Media
There are several pros and cons to schools monitoring social media. The first is the impact on students’ privacy rights and self-esteem. The next pro is the potential financial burden on school districts. Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons. While you may be surprised to hear of these practices, it is important to know that there is no single right answer to this question. While these practices may seem intrusive, they should be considered as one possible solution.
Impacts on students’ privacy rights
In light of concerns about online safety, schools have started monitoring students’ Facebook and Twitter accounts for various reasons. In California, Florida, and Illinois, for example, schools have hired social media monitoring services. In New Jersey, the state department of education has used social media monitoring to flag potential violations of state testing rules. And in Illinois, school officials can now demand that students surrender their login credentials. These new technologies pose many challenges to students’ privacy rights, but schools are still implementing them.
While there are no legal barriers to schools monitoring social media, some privacy experts argue that the monitoring practice chills academic freedom and free expression. For example, LGBTQ students may find it uncomfortable to research their sexuality in conservative school districts, while young Trump supporters may feel censored when discussing politics in liberal schools. The primary motivation for the surveillance is the possibility of saving a student’s life, according to school officials. Students also report being more reserved online: 53% of students don’t share their true opinions online, while 73 percent are more careful about what they search for.
While New Jersey v. TLO established that students have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the case did not address the issue of cell phones in students’ pockets. However, the case did provide a student with a $70,000 settlement for allowing his school to access his Facebook account. This case also prompted scrutiny of the Alabama school district for employing a security firm to monitor its students’ online activities.
However, monitoring students’ social media may be better than harmful. Some studies suggest that such monitoring can help students more than harm them, and may even prevent problems from arising. Ultimately, schools may find it useful for the educational system to address issues and protect its students. And as the number of students using social media continues to grow, the privacy rights of students are being compromised. While there are many legitimate reasons for schools to monitor students’ social media, the potential for privacy abuse is still too great.
In addition to the security risks, schools should be cautious in posting photos of students on their social media. Although some students may be willing to share these photos, this does not ensure that the public will not discover them. By posting first names only, schools can minimize the risk that bad actors will use their photos to identify students. This also limits the possibility of photos being public. It is also important to remember that parents may wish to remove their children’s images from their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Some studies suggest that using these social media surveillance services could make school officials more aware of students’ online activities. By tracking student behavior and activity, they may be better able to detect cases of online harm and prevent future incidents. In addition to the increased awareness, such surveillance services integrate multiple databases, which give school officials access to large amounts of information. This information may be crucial for public safety. But what about privacy rights?
Impacts on self-esteem
The impact of social media on our children’s self-esteem has been well-documented. Many students are influenced by their peers’ photos and comments. They compare themselves to others based on their looks, height, and weight. Because they aren’t happy with the way they look, they try to improve themselves. While social media can help boost their self-esteem, it can also have the opposite effect.
Another problem with social media is the social comparison factor. Despite the fact that things look better online, these images are not true in reality. This effect negatively impacts the self-esteem of young users. This means that it’s important for young people to remind themselves that these images do not represent real life. The best way to combat this effect is to remind yourself that social media makes things look better than they are.
While there is no definitive proof that social media has negative effects on self-esteem, many educators believe that it can help improve a child’s self-esteem. Monitoring social media is one way to encourage healthy behavior and build up a positive self-image. Research has also shown that children who actively engage in social media are more likely to have high self-esteem than those who passively follow. However, more definitive studies are needed.
There is a growing number of studies that suggest that young people engage in a form of comparison on social media. By engaging in conversations with their peers, young people are exposed to peer pressure that can be damaging to their self-esteem. In one study, undergraduate women who engaged in social media with more attractive people had lower self-esteem than those who engaged with their family member’s social media. Teens can filter out the negative aspects of their feeds by “liking” the pictures of other young people.
Social media monitoring is one way to promote self-esteem. Although social media monitoring can help a student with peer relationships, the more students interact with their classmates offline, the more the bond can grow. Studies also show that students using social media have increased their risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, students may experience confusion between reality and what they see on social media.
The effects of social media monitoring on young people’s self-esteem and confidence are complex. It’s not clear whether schools should be monitoring the activities of teenagers on social media, but it’s important to monitor the quality of the time spent online. Parents should encourage positive social media activities, while parents should remind kids to take social media feeds with a grain of salt. Even if teenagers have positive profiles, they should remember that their social media profiles reflect both good and bad aspects of their lives.
Impacts on school districts
Although most public schools do not disclose their use of geo-listening technology, they do monitor students’ social media posts as part of their responsible-use policy. Schools can’t do this without a parent’s consent, but they do have the right to monitor digital content posted by students. The responsible-use policy is a legal requirement for schools, but it should be clear that school officials are attempting to protect students.
A Texas-based school district called Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District purchased a social media monitoring service, Social Sentinel, which can track posts made on various social networks. Social Sentinel was active in Uvalde at the time of the shooting. It flagged images of AR-15-style rifles posted by the gunman. Despite claiming to protect students, the service’s use has led to a number of criticisms.
One program that has been implemented in Texas schools is Students Against Fear. It works by receiving tips from students, staff, and parents about potential threats. After receiving a tip, SAF looks up the student’s social media accounts. Since the program started, 14 students have been expelled based on their social media posts. These cases have been supported by social media accounts reviewed by SAF. The program may lead to increased social media monitoring.
School officials should consider the privacy implications of this new technology before implementing it in their school systems. While monitoring student social media may reduce the likelihood of violent behavior, it may prevent students from seeking out information they need to make the right choices. However, monitoring student social media may be beneficial if it is done in an environment where students can feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics. It might even promote open dialogue and provide a resource for addressing mental health problems.
While these practices may increase the security of school districts, the impact on minority communities may be much greater. Research on school discipline suggests that black children face more punishments than their white peers for breaking the same rules. In Alabama, for instance, the school district imposed a punishment of $25,000 on a black student based on her Facebook postings containing images of a phallic figure. In addition, it may increase school discipline disproportionately against black children, according to parents defending schools.
While the federal government is taking steps to monitor student social media, the reality is that many public schools still do not do so. Some districts hire a private company to do the monitoring. However, schools are taking on an additional liability in actively patrolling the internet and social media. And some districts don’t even know about such services. The impact on public schools and staff remains unclear. But the possibility is that they will eventually face an issue that they hadn’t anticipated.