Schools hiring companies to monitor students' social media sites

Schools hiring companies to monitor students' social media sites

Social media has become a tool used by some kids to torment other students. A powerful new on-line tool could soon be used in California schools, and it could stop cyber bullies in their tracks before tragedy strikes.

One good could come out of a school tragedy. In 2013, parents sued the Glendale School District in Southern California after 15-year-old Drew Ferraro jumped to his death on campus. The parents believe bullying played a major role in Drew's suicide.

Social media has become a tool used by some kids to torment other students. A powerful new on-line tool could soon be used in California schools, and it could stop cyber bullies in their tracks before tragedy strikes.

Tweeting, posting on Facebook and texting has become a way of life for millions of Americans that's especially true for teens who sometimes use social media to bully other students.

Some California schools are hiring companies to track students' online activity.

Geo Listening is one company currently working with schools taking a pro-active approach to on-line bullying..

The founder says they collect information from sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the system does not invade privacy, it looks for key words and will contact school administrators when there are signs of trouble.

"If a student says she's cutting today, that will flag as a key word, hit, and then we are also going to look at that with a set of human eyes," said Chis Frydrych, founder of Geo Listening.

After Glendale Unified's tragedy Assemblyman Mike Gatto felt he needed to address this problem, he created a bill which will allow districts to store, maintain, destroy records, and give them option to participate.

"The bill recently passed California state senate and California state assembly and it headed to the governor's desk, he will have until Oct.1 to sign it or veto it,' said Gatto.

Right now, the social media sites of Glendale middle and high schools students are being monitored.

It's not certain, whether local school districts will use the monitoring companies, but we spoke to local parents and students to get their take.

Gatto says if bullying  can be prevented by taking a closer look at the social network on campus everybody wins.
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