With social media growing and growing during my life span, my mom has done a wonderful job of teaching me the do’s and don’t of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. I know that it is crucially important to present myself positively, but without having to over exaggerate about what I’ve done or “fake” my self-image. When people are following what you do, especially those that look up to you, or maybe you are a leader or mentor, it is extra important to post what is appropriate for anyone to see that might be following you. If you post something and much of your audience is younger, you should especially think twice about what you post, as you may influence their life choices.
Recently, I was scrolling through social media, and came upon on a shared post by one of my church mentors. It was a news article announcing that an Orange County in Florida, was adding social media monitoring software in its schools. It stated that the district acquired the software to prevent, intervene and monitor situations that may impact students and staff. In past years, this certain county has experienced, on many occasions, problems with bullying on social media in high school and middle school. There has been numerous debates on ways to help decrease these numbers.
This article caused me to ask questions, like, is this really lawful? What do they define as offensive or bullying? How would one act upon seeing a very questionable post? Would any evidence of a crime be truly held up in court if something came up? Like any inquiring mind, I did some digging.
Through articles and videos, I discovered that the software will only work if a student or teacher is in or around the school. For example, If a student sends a Facebook message during math class, the school will be able to see that and it’s content. When a questionable message from one student to another has been discovered, authorities will then result to appropriate action depending on the situation.
Others may view this act as an invasion of one’s privacy and first amendment right, while I actually disagree. Bullying can cause a great deal of harm whether one means it to or not. The definition of bullying on google is “use of superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Bullying can also come across as someone who is just being overly rude. If there is a way to help put a stop to this, I am all for it. On the other hand, if you are on the school’s property, anything and everything is lawfully subjected to an authoritative or police search if suspected to cause harm to yourself and or others. Included in that is social media, whether it is publicly posted or privately messaged. School’s also care a great deal about their teachers and they need protection to be able to effectively do their jobs, and when a student publicly complains about the staff in an uncalled for manner, they have the right to know who, what, when, where, and why. Teachers put a ton of work into their job and some of it even goes unpaid do to the long hours of preparing, grading, and personal mentorship. So, that goes to answer some questions, is it lawful in our public schools? Most definitely yes, everyone deserves to go to school without being harassed or bullied. Could problems arise from this? Possibly in the future, but so far it has been a great help to school, to protect their students and staff, get help to those who need it and for police investigations.
With this software, I feel it will cause my generation to think twice about posting a rude or hurtful comment or crude picture. Sometimes, teens forget that not just “Facebook friends” can see posts, because they can share it, tell someone else about it, or even screen shot it. Once something is on the internet, it truly can never be deleted. (That includes private messages.) I am not saying that every school in the nation has to have this technology now, I am saying that if the problem is persistent, it would help schools to maintain a positive atmosphere for not only the students, but teachers and administrative staff too.
Please feel free to leave an appropriate comment below! I am very curious about how others might view this arising topic.