School District Hires Firm to Read Students’ Social Media Posts

Readers — This is a new development and a big one. A school district in California has hired a firm to monitor the public postings of its 13,500 students. It will analyze the students’ content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and some other sites, looking for hints of “cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy,” according to this story by Kelly Corrigan in the Glendale News Press.

I can totally understand why this would appeal to parents. Who among us hasn’t worried about what’s happening in our kids’ lives at some point? And the company claims that in a pilot program last year, it intervened with a suicidal student.

But here’s the rub: If, as a kid, I thought that all the grown-ups in my life were so worried about my mental state that they were frantically scanning my every interaction for evidence of my fragility — or cruelty — it would CAUSE me to despair.It’s like telling kids, “I HAVE to stand next to you at the party, hon. It’s for your own good.” Excuse me while I guzzle the Drano.

If what kids need for a healthy sense of self is someone who really believes in them, behold the opposite. This surveillance program is treating 13,500 students like they are all in some kind of mental facility where everyone must be monitored.

Or else like they’re part of a terrorist cell.

The district superintendent is quoted as saying, “The whole purpose is student safety.” (Maybe he’s got the same speechwriter as the NSA?) But of course, crying “Safety!” is the magic Napalm so many interests deploy these days. How can an adult refuse a product or service when it promises a new level of protection for their kids? It’s not only appealing — it’s almost blackmail.  Because now, if anything untoward DOES happen and you DIDN’T have the program in place, someone can always demand: Why didn’t you see this coming?

That’s a tough question to answer, which is why I’m betting this service spreads. Unfortunately, it’s also a question based on the most corrosive idea of our time: The idea that if we just gather every bit of information about absolutely everything and everyone our kids even encounter, then (and only then) can our kids be safe. Hence,  nanny cams. Hence, the “smart diaper” prototype that monitors the chemical content of your baby’s pee. Hence, GPS trackers for kids, background checks for field trip chaperons, parental spyware for their children’s private texts, and about a billion articles about a billion evils we should be on the lookout for every day.

Society is saying anything less than omniscience is putting our kids at risk.

And I’m saying that the big risk to kids today is a society that doesn’t think they’re ever safe on their own.  – L

Surveillance of all students' Facebook posts?

Surveillance of all students’ posts?

 

74 Responses to School District Hires Firm to Read Students’ Social Media Posts

  1. Linda Wightman August 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    It sounds horrible, not the least because school is once again trying to interfere in students’ lives outside of school. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

    However, I see one of two situations here:

    (1) The students’ posts are public, in which case I don’t see what can be done about it, unless one can come up with some sort of anti-stalking lawsuit. (Because “stalking” is what this is!) It’s another lesson in taking care what you post and who gets to see it.

    (2) The company acquires this information illegally.

    I’m betting #1 is the case.

    On the other hand, maybe a good case could be made that the school district should be spending its money more wisely.

  2. Laura August 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Well, parents should ensure that all of their children’s accounts are secure and set to ‘private’ so people can’t go snooping like this. The biggest problem with the Internet today is parents lack of supervision and control. Until they’re 18 parents must control, limit and supervise all Internet access and activity. Set everything to ‘friends only’ and check their ‘friends’ periodically. There is no was a 15 year old knows 700 people, s/he should not have that many ‘friends’ online. I’ve seen some with over 1000. What are parents thinking by not monitoring what their children are doing online?

  3. Eileen August 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    This is definitely a tough one. I presumed Universities have something similar, specifically in the area of scholarship athletes…there have been cases were NCAA violations are uncovered based on what’s been posted on social media. Surprised to see a school district taking this on.

    I will say, that I think adults/parents/educators are still trying to figure out this all out. My mother was born in the 20s, but the social communication methods for her as compared to me (born in the 60s) was the same. The phone on the wall, handwritten, and face to face. The entire dynamic is altered dramatically now. There are no boundaries (like a Dad picking up the phone at 11pm) or compartmentalization of teenagers lives. I know they love it and know no difference, but I am so glad I grew up in a time that I could come home from school and just focus on TV or homework or gymnastics. If a boy I liked, liked a different girl, I had to figure it out by real communication skills, not lurking on someone’s FB or twitter feeds.

    I’m not sure this would be considered stalking…any more than the cookies in our browsers know what websites we visit and customize the advertising accordingly. I imagine there are just algorithms that scan for key words, etc.

  4. Warrem August 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    So now when someone jokes about the way a student was dressed, or tripped in the cafeteria or whatever, they will be labelled as a bully, brought in for questioning, and suspened for something that did not even happen on school grounds or school time.

    Land of the Free…………..your Founding Fathers are not just rolling over in their graves, they are crying.

  5. Wilson August 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    “If, as a kid, I thought that all the grown-ups in my life were so worried about my mental state that they were frantically scanning my every interaction for evidence of my fragility — or cruelty — it would CAUSE me to despair”

    I would see more kids use this to troll the system by posting fake information on their social media just to make the authorities go crazy. Because that’s what teenagers do.

  6. Warrem August 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    The data collected…..what happens to that? Sold, to other companies is my guess.

    But if it saves just one innocent child then it is all worth it. What a joke!!!!

  7. Selby August 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    How is this even executable? I mean, on Facebook, wouldn’t every student have to accept the friend request of this service before their posts can be read?

    Same with Twitter: wouldn’t the students have to follow the handle of the service? Or let the service follow them?

    One of those ideas that sounds good on paper but then fails miserably in practice.

  8. Bose in St. Peter MN August 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    OK, note that the services monitors all interactions outbound from the school’s campus toward social media outlets. As in, only grabbing traffic during the school day.

    But, contrary to that description, the FAQ page says that “All information is gathered from public posts on social networks,” and “Users of social networks receive a username and password, which gives them a right to publish social commentary and media,” and the only way the service can know which “public posts” originated from the campus is by scooping up the outbound user/password info, as well as the content of any commentary, and then monitoring the public posts for the user. That’s creepy, and this is from a web developer who knows a little about the back-ends of such stuff.

    Once Geo Listening has scooped up the students’ user names for social media outlets, there is nothing preventing them from scooping up any off-campus posts by students as well.

    When the FAQ asks about privacy laws, Geo Listening responds, “Geo Listening does not monitor email, SMS, MMS, phone calls, voicemails or unlock any privacy setting of a social network user.” Except, based on its own description, it’s monitoring all outbound traffic, which would include emails and texts. It’s just (supposedly) filtering the emails and texts out of what it collects.

    And yet, maybe most disturbing in my mind, consider: A student posts to a non-public location on Facebook, or posts a DM (one recipient only) tweet from campus. Geo Listening can’t always recognize as private, though, except by waiting to see if it appears in an expected public location. So, how long does it hold onto the private data (5 minutes? 5 days?) before it decides it’s private and drops it?

    Finally, a sign that the school isn’t getting such a top-rate service for its $40K, again from the FAQ page: “Most users below the age of 25 do not utilize the available privacy settings because they are seeking to be recognized for their respective posts.” Yessirree, the whole thing is 100% dependent on teens being clueless social media users. Good luck with that.

  9. Beth August 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    This must be one healthy and wealthy school district, that there are no other priorities for which this money could better be used.

    I wonder if there will be an “opt out” option.

  10. Andy August 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    @Laura “Until they’re 18 parents must control, limit and supervise all Internet access and activity. Set everything to ‘friends only’ and check their ‘friends’ periodically.”

    That sounds kinda controlling and helicopterish to me. What are you going to do about public sites and discussion forums with no “private” settings? Online competition?

    “There is no was a 15 year old knows 700 people, s/he should not have that many “friends” online.”

    What about acquaintances? I’m sure you know that not all “friend” on Facebook see everything. How do you count friend in various lists? Btw, what do you count as a friend on twitter?

    Anyway, how locked up your account is should be a function of what one posts there. You can accept anyone as a friend if you do post only public stuff or if the account is used only for games.

    “I’ve seen some with over 1000.”

    How did you found out? Anyway, those are probably result of games on Facebook. Those used to give you advantage when you friended other players.

    “What are parents thinking by not monitoring what their children are doing online?”

    The same as parents not monitoring their 17 years old correspondence, 16 years old phone calls/text messages and not bugging kids backpacks when they go to school.

    Not caring is one thing, not allowing them any independent online presence another.

  11. CJW August 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Kids stopped thinking facebook was cool the moment all their parents and even grandparents started using it. The same will probably happen with Twitter, if it hasn’t started already. As soon as kids realize their social networks are being monitored by grown-ups, they’ll just migrate to a newer, more obscure, (and perhaps more exclusive) site.

  12. Eileen August 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    That’s what I was going to say CJW, it’s nearly impossible to “monitor” a kid’s social footprint any longer. They use tumblr, vine, instagram, snapchat, twitter as well as the “old school” Facebook.

    We constantly talk to our kids about the difference between venting frustrations directly to their friends and putting crap out there for all (or 100s) to consume (for EVER). Teens don’t see that difference. Personally I feel like social media makes it so much harder….they look at how many “likes” things they share get. They put out updates/tweets that just invite someone to ask ‘what’s wrong?’. Generally I think it can be really unhealthy for some kids.

    But that’s another topic….but part of why the adults are searching for ways to deal with it.

  13. Michael August 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    And other districts will probably feel compelled to follow, because, if something bad happens and they don’t have such a program, then they’ll be subject to even greater litigation risk.

  14. Anne August 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    While I completely disagree with the reasoning and think it’s a total waste of money, it might actually help teach kids that anything they put on the internet is visible, will be read and may have consequences. It would be good for most kids to learn that before their social media postings are used in college and/or employment screenings. Maybe this will help them learn that if they don’t want everyone (including schools, employers, grandparents, etc.) to know what they said or did, discussing it through any kind of social media is a bad plan. I know that’s not what the school district is trying to accomplish, but most kids will probably still learn to think before they post if they know they’re being stalked by the school.

  15. Brooks August 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Surely this will be challenged in court. While it may uncover a tad bit of bullying, without doubt something more outlandish will happen. One day a kid will say something ugly, but non-threatening and will be suspended/expelled/disciplined. A smart mom or dad will sue and win – I hope.

  16. Warren August 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Go back pre internet, and this would be the same as having investigators following your kids around monitoring what they say.

    Wait until a group of girls post thing about “getting her good” are suspended for threats. When all they were doing is planning a surprise for a friend. The printed word does not convey tone, intent, or context. This is going to create more false accusations than it uncovers real problems.

  17. Elizabeth August 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Sort of goes right along with the idea that if the government monitors the REST of us like this, we can ALL be safe from everything. A highly disturbing attitude, all around.

  18. forsythia August 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Funding crisis in the schools? Wait, what?

  19. Jeff August 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    “But of course, crying “Safety!” is the magic Napalm so many interests deploy these days.”

    You hit the nail squarely on the head with this sentence. The argument is usually if X can save even one life or safeguard even one person, then X is automatically justified beyond question. Don’t worry about the negative impact(s) of X. No amount of money is ever enough to fund X (more money will save more lives of course). There can be no alternatives considered to X because anything but the most extreme action isn’t enough. And anyone who disagrees with X, well they just don’t care about all those lives that are being helped.

  20. QuicoT August 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Most of the time, I’m fully signed up to the Free Range Dogma for one reason: the fear-mongering used to call for some extreme solution is based on a catastrophic misreading of risk.

    People are bad at very big and very small numbers. People don’t understand that 1 in a million risk is, for all intents and purposes, a zero risk, and that almost any step taken to avoid a 1-in-a-million event is a step too far.

    In this case, I don’t think the risk is being “trumped up” or crazily overstated. Millions upon millions of teens get bullied, or bully. We’re not talking 1-in-a-million, we’re talking 1-in-3.

    I don’t know if this program is well designed or not. I do know it addresses a real problem, not a crazy made-up problem. So I’d be cautious in judging it.

  21. Puzzled August 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Quico – only because that 1/3 number is obtained by pathologizing normal kid behavior. We adults are really, really bad at looking at kid interactions and figuring out when something is pathological and when it’s part of normal social development.

    If the number really were 1/3, by the way, would this be a good way to deal with it? I say no – such widespread behavior has a social and communal cause, not individual. What’s needed is a better world for the kids to live in. If we see bullying, it is because the adult society sets the example that bullying is good and just (see the US), that reporting or bringing to light bad behavior is bad (see Snowden), and that what matters is winning, not others (see banking.) It is because we have built a bizarre pseudo-world in education that we throw kids into, and use it to train them for the more bizarre working world, where they will spend their lives taking orders for ever-decreasing rewards. Just world, just behavior.

  22. Lucy August 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    One more reason to be glad my kids don’t go to school.

  23. vjhr August 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Brooks said: “Surely this will be challenged in court. While it may uncover a tad bit of bullying, without doubt something more outlandish will happen. One day a kid will say something ugly, but non-threatening and will be suspended/expelled/disciplined. A smart mom or dad will sue and win – I hope.”

    Sort of like kindergartners being suspended for biting Pop Tarts into the shape of guns? I don’t see the backlash from those cases stopping any idiotic school admins.

  24. Kimberly August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    None of the parents I know would want their children stalked this way. The state has no business monitoring citizens this way.

    What I’m about to say is colored by the fact I went to school with several sociopaths – as in – abused and killed animals for fun, committed arson, and built pipebombs by 5th – 6th grades. A couple were later jailed for raping women.

    Bullying can be divided into 2 categories
    Childish behavior
    Criminal behavior

    For childish behavior parents and school should work together to put an end to it. Teach all involved better social skills.

    Criminal behavior parents shouldn’t involve the school Go directly to the police file charges get a TRO if possible. Check the laws in your state. In Texas it used to mean the victim had to leave. Now it means the bully has to leave. (The victim can choose to go to a safer school but if they do’t want to leave the bully is gone).

    If the admin tries to stop you – file charges against them. The ones my parents threatened against district admin and school board members wher
    1. Failure to protect
    2. Interference in the reporting of physical abuse of a child
    3. Interference in the reporting of sexual abuse of a child
    4. Child endangerment

    On our side we had several doctors willing to report me as an abused child (I had to convince them it was classmates not my parents, who never raised a hand against me) and the a school board member told my Dad “Kimberly must like getting beaten up or she wouldn’t keep annoying the boys. They are just being boys. That is how boys show they like someone” In front of witnesses. Which might explain his continued existence. We also had several families willing to join us in a Title IX lawsuit. District rolled over. That out of their hands behavior – stopped on less than a dime.

  25. Donna August 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    “There is no was a 15 year old knows 700 people, s/he should not have that many “friends” online.”

    The high school my daughter will attend has 1,500 students, so 700 is less than half. While my daughter is a little more reserved, I can easily see some of her more outgoing friends knowing in passing and facebook friending (or whatever is cool 8 years from now) half the school.

  26. Maggie August 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    As a parent of a high schooler, I’m appalled. If my child attended this school, I’d encourage my kid to set up a FB account under another name, or set his privacy settings so high they couldn’t find him.

    I’m a parent, and yes, I check my kid’s FB on occasion. But I’m his MOTHER, not some school administrator who most probably never has met my kid.

    What’s next, random drug checks and strip searches? Maybe start checking not only the student’s FB, why not the parents, friends, relatives? Maybe send out patrols to follow the kids, and sit across the street with binoculars. Cuz the darn school really needs to make sure my kid is safe.

    Disgusting, sickening, disturbing, disheartening.

  27. amy August 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    My best friend’s mom listened in on our conversations, so we just spoke a combination of pig Latin and French. The kids will compensate for this stupidity.

  28. Jeff August 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    @Puzzled

    On the other side of that coin, research shows that there are more than a few instances where legitimate bullying is downplayed as just “kids being kids” or other such things, thus resulting in the person being bullied rightfully feeling they have none to turn to to resolve the problem when they cannot do so themselves. Bullying is a very legitimate problem that I think you may be downplaying whether intentionally or unintentionally.

    That is not to say that adults have not gone overboard in misinterpreting non-bullying behavior as bullying, but it is more prevalent than I am perceiving you, rightly or wrongly, thinking it is.

  29. Rachel August 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    I really hate the facebook surveillance for teens! or anybody!
    Don’t kids need some privacy?

    Here’s a much better solution to keeping our kids safe…teach them about the world, don’t shelter them, and then trust them.
    Trust is really the crux of raising great, safe, smart and moral kids. From what I see, kids who are trusted by their parents tend to do fewer stupid, harmful things.

  30. Reziac August 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Someone posted…

    “Until they’re 18 parents must control, limit and supervise…”

    …what? Internet access? playtime outside the home? walking to school?

    If you want your kids to develop good sense, you don’t limit and control. You TEACH them how to handle situations and how to avoid getting into more trouble than they can handle.

  31. Puzzled August 30, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    Jeff – yes, actual dangerous bullying has been dismissed as just kids being kids, while kids being kids has been treated as actual dangerous bullying. I think this supports my contention that, in general, we adults are very bad at determining which is which. The pattern of errors and correct detections is probably close to what we’d see with an entirely random guessing method. Which is why, in my opinion, we shouldn’t try to tell the difference by observing the behavior. Instead, we should watch the kids. If there is withdrawing behavior, or other clues from the kid themselves, then we should investigate for problematic bullying. We should not watch their interactions and try to guess what we see as a matter of course.

  32. Alexia August 30, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    As a person working in education, I can tell you this type of technology is being used in my state by some districts. I received a call from a superintendent (I work in a school that serves many districts) called to report a facebook alert she had received about a posting of one of our students.
    My response? I told my student, “Don’t be stupid. You are being watched.”

  33. Jenny Islander August 30, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    @Reziac: Yes. And I think that the first rule, taught early and often, should be, “THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS.” If you say something you later regret, it doesn’t matter whether you delete it or not; somebody somewhere probably has a screencap. If the whole site is shut down, it’s probably archived somewhere.

    I think an old school posting rule should be resurrected: Before posting (Tweeting) (whatever the hell) to a new site, lurk there, that is, read without posting, daily. Some really old-school folks recommend as long as six weeks, but of course teenagers can’t wait that long. 3 days might be feasible. And here’s another one: If your dander is up, before you type or Skype or Tweet or blah whatever, open a non-online* text program, post what you want to say into it in plain old ASCII, and walk away from your Internet-capable device for a couple of hours. Now reread what you wrote. Still believe in it? Okay, go.

    *Like, not in the Cloud. You can’t tell me that something as simple as Notepad has to be in the fricking Cloud where everyone can see it.

  34. Chad G August 30, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    You know eventually kids are going to start figuring this out from some things I’ve read it is already happening. Kids are using metaphors that only they get to talk online. And other kids are just going to start pushing limits and making up stuff just to mess with the people monitoring things. And by doing that they will mess up what in electronics is called the signal to noise ratio. There will be so much fake BS and misunderstood references out there that the real information will get lost. Language, slang, even actual secret codes will simply cause the exact opposite of what the school is trying to do to occur. The kids will not trust nor go to the adults when there is a problem because they will assume that the adults already know about it and they do not have to put themselves at risk to call attention to it. It is just one of those really oppressive bad government ideas with all sorts of intended and and more importantly unintended consequences.

  35. Adrienne August 30, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    THIS is why I left high school early. Not the specific surveillance program, but the attitude that kids/teens simply cannot be trusted to think for themselves. This policy is going to kill the autonomy of those students just as they’re struggling to claim it and figure it out. It is absolutely appalling and further strengthens my resolve to keep my own child FAR AWAY from institutionalized education.

  36. Eileen August 30, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Yes, kids are already savvy enough to use code or (as they say) “subtweets” (subliminal tweets) where they don’t specifically call out who they are talking about. I’m so conflicted on the whole thing, as I’ve witnessed a schoolmate of my children’s get “called out” for reporting drug sale activity (reported thru appropriate channels). People tweeted at her directly, “subtweeted” her with veiled (and probably false) threats. As we know as adults, the internet makes people braver to say things they wouldn’t say face to face. I know that I wouldn’t have been mature enough to this 24/7 non-stop social medium.

    I doubt this monitoring is the right “thing”, but I also don’t think that treating social media interactions as we used to phone call or face to face communication is accurate either.

    I will say I’m glad my kids are done with HS and are (hopefully) maturing enough to properly handle these tools. It’s not simply about “teaching your kids”…it’s them believing you and choosing that path when they are BOMBARDED with 100s of people who have not (giving them behavior rationalization at the ready).

  37. Andy August 30, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    The big problem with bullying is not only big horrible one time actions, but also small every day actions. Call kid a name or humiliate him once – childhood behavior. The kid will forget next day. Call kid names and humiliate him multiple times every single day for the whole year – bullying with real consequences for the victim.

    The trouble is that it is hard to distinguish between pattern and isolated actions. You need to know all involved very well in order to have a chance to guess right. Adults then tend to either overreact on isolated incidents or dismiss patterns. It is hard to strike the balance.

  38. Jeff August 30, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    @Puzzled

    I agree with everything in that post, as it is both balanced and informed.

  39. Tracy August 30, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    As a parent I would be horrified by this. It is bad enough that “private” is still not exactly that when you are talking about things online, but to have people doing a constant surveillance of the students social media time. Unacceptable, just like all surveillance without just cause is unacceptable. What my kids do online and on social media is my business, and their business, and none of the schools business, unless there is reason to believe that it is effecting the school environment, then, talk to me about it, I’ll deal with it at home. It is bad enough that there are a lot of parents who think it is the schools responsibility to raise their children for them, but when the school steps in and does things like this, they are basically telling parents, it’s okay, we’ll monitor your children’s behavior 24/7 so you don’t need to worry about it. NO! Hold the parents accountable for parenting, hold the schools accountable for teaching, then make them work together when there are problems that need to be solved.

  40. Eileen August 30, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I can’t help but think that for every parent that takes the stance that the school has no business doing this, there are parents that are complaining that a kid, whose only connection to their kid is school, is using the internet to bully their kid — so that’s where they turn. As I mentioned, I’ve seen myself where kids were “ganging up” on a girl who’d done the “right thing” concerning a classmate (who several offenses later finds himself in jail), and that’s only what I see publicly (I can’t imagine what her DMs looked like).

    I also had to intervene when a situation between 2 kids escalated and one ended up with a concussion (this was a horseplay situation where someone got hurt). My child witnessed the whole thing and we were asked about it. Anyway, the father of one of the kids called me and told me that the other child was tweeting negative things about his daughter. Since I was friends with this kid’s Mom, I reached out to her to inform her about it. This boy, is a scholarship-smart kid, his father is in law enforcement, and now at a very good university. He’s not a dummy, but he’s just as desensitized to this as anyone else.

  41. Gary August 30, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Laura must be a hoot to live with…

  42. Gary August 30, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    “Until they’re 18 parents must control, limit and supervise all Internet access and activity.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4r5Mnbujpc

  43. Eileen August 30, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Poke fun all you want (which kind of illustrates some of the points that are being made about the internet, but at least we’re all adults)…but there is nothing wrong with being concerned about what your kid is exposed to.

    I know my parents wouldn’t have wanted me talking to friends on the phone at 1am on school nights. But if your kid has a cell phone they can (and probably) do exactly that via texting ((even if it’s not a smart phone…twitter can arrive via text, FB updates via text…etc).

    It’s not an issue of wanting to know what your kid is saying to whom at every moment, but it’s being concerned that constant contact, validation, venting, histrionics, are played out every minute of the day via social media. I’ve also found that social media has torn down barriers between social cliques. Now on the surface that might sounds like a good thing, but that can also tear down some of the healthy fear about the unknown (drugs for example) because you can see and read how classmates do it (and survive). Kids in social circle A show up at a gathering of kids in social circle B (because they read about it). It goes on and on…

    Anyway – again this if off topic to the post, but I think there are a LOT more layers than just lumping social media communication into the same place as verbal gossip and shared home phones of our generation.

  44. Andy August 30, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    This sounds like on topic: “My Mom is on Facebook” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_QePidL750

  45. Andy August 30, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    @Eileen Just for the record, I have no problem with parents generally knowing what the kids are up to online. Say, with parents having kids as friends on facebook and occasionally reading that. Occasionally reading kids blog or tweet feed.

    However, “parents must control, limit and supervise all Internet access and activity. Set everything to ‘friends only’ and check their ‘friends’ periodically.” sounds like way more then that.

  46. T G August 30, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    I’m surprised about this, not because of the waste of money or the government surveillance (let’s be honest, this stuff happens in bureaucracy all the time), but because this school CLEARLY didn’t talk to their lawyers about this. Doing this opens them up to a whole other level of liability – not from 4th Amendment concerns, but because if they take it upon themselves to monitor the safety of their students outside of school, and something happens that they didn’t anticipate, they are now facing a lawsuit for failing to stop it. The more knowledge they have, the more liability they face. So not only is it a ridiculous infringement of the rights and expectations of U.S. citizens, it’s also a stupid move on their part.

    Yes, I agree with many of the posters here that students should understand that what they do publicly on the internet needs to be carefully thought out, so that’s one positive from this – but the rest is entirely negative, especially if, as one commenter suggests, they are actually seeking out non-public posts where the child did attempt to limit who sees it. (For those not totally familiar with these networking sites like Facebook, a “private post” is much more equivalent to an email – and you, an adult, would be pretty unhappy to find your emails had been resurrected and posted all over the internet, or spread to government agencies – at least, I hope you would be pretty unhappy. I’ve been finding some failure to nuance with a lot of people who aren’t savvy with these websites. Yes, the internet is forever, but no one expects everything they do on a computer to come back to haunt them. I’d like to see a little less blame piled on people who use the internet, and a little more scrutiny of the government and how they access their information.)

  47. pentamom August 30, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Andy, she probably knows how many friends people have because she clicked on the wall of her friends and noticed where it says how many friends they had. That’s no big deal.

  48. Warren August 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Donna,

    Should parents with the financial means wish to, would they be able to get a court order, injunction, or whatever preventing the school from monitoring their child?

    Before we opened our own shop, I was at a company that wasn’t the best managed. One day as the lead hand I was pulled into the managers office and told to deal with one guy that was bad mouthing the manager in the lunchroom. I refused on the grounds that he had the right to vent to his coworkers if they were willing to listen. And that what is said between coworkers in the lunchroom is supposed to stay in the lunchroom. I was given the option of dealing with the man, or losing my leadhand status. I told the manager to shove his threat, as I freely gave up my leadhand status, and the extra wages that came with it.
    People are allowed to vent, complain, whine, moan and groan on their own time without fear of reprocussion. Does not matter if you are an employee or student.
    This monitoring is going to lead to more than prevention of bullying. Kids will be pulled in for ethics violations, code of conduct violations and so on. This is not good.

  49. Eileen August 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    @Warren, I agree with you in regard to lunchroom chatter. We often use the example of telling our kids to vent to their friends in their rooms, on the phone, or in a car, etc.

    However, it’s the public criticism by using the internet, via social media apps, that creates the issue of whether or not it’s appropriate (it’s not) or headed toward bullying.

    As an aside, I saw this article mentioned in a AJC column and the CEO said the following about non public posts:
    “We do not monitor privatized pages, SMS, MMS, email, phone calls, voicemails.”

    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/aug/29/should-schools-snoop-students-social-media/

  50. John August 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    If a parent notices a personality change in their child or teenager, such as he’s all-of-a-sudden quiet or sulky or crabby and let’s say he refuses to volunteer any reason why he’s acting that way, I can understand why a parent might want to scarf up their cell phone and take a peak at their text messages or perhaps email messages. Particularly if the parents are paying for the phone and the plan. BUT for a school district to do this across the board to ALL kids ALL of the time is a bit of a stretch. To assume that ALL kids have problems is presumptious thinking. Kids have a right to privacy too and perhaps there is something in their life they’d be embarrassed if their parents knew. It doesn’t mean it’s harmful, it’s just that kids tend to embarrass very easily. I certainly was that way!

    Also, this thing with “cyberbullying” I believe is being blown waaaay out of proportion. Even kids can learn to have thick skin! What’s wrong with explaining to your child that it’s easy for people to hurl out insults when they’re cowardly hiding behind their computer keys? Most children can comprehend this concept. I see kids hurl insults at each other ALL the time on youtube when they post a video of an athletic feat of sorts. “Man, why don’t you eat something? You look skinny.” or “You suck!” etc., etc. Big deal! It could be other kids yanking their chain or who are just jealous of their accomplishment. But for a kid to get suicidal over insulting comments from anonymous posters I believe is a sign that they have other issues in their life like maybe a problem with hypersensitivity! But most kids will just reply back, “Oh yea? Let’s see a video of YOU doing 20 pull-ups asshole!” They can actually make the whole cyber dialogue fun that way.

    But, of course, we adults typically over react. We (well not me) believe that EVERY child under 18 is made out of porcelain and with feelings made out of balsa wood so the government needs to step in and police their dialogue. Because after all, they’re just children (I’m rolling my eyes).

  51. Jenny Islander August 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I wonder how long it will be until the first official flip-out over RP chat logs. “Your daughter was talking about vampires kissing! She must want to come to school with a knife!”

  52. John August 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Quote: “Millions upon millions of teens get bullied, or bully. We’re not talking 1-in-a-million, we’re talking 1-in-3″

    @QuicoT….with all due respect, I believe that little statistic you’re using is highly exaggerated. You have to ask who is collecting this data, how are they arriving at it and how do they define “bullying”? There are so many variables there. What may be bullying to one kid, just may be a form of joking around to another. But to us adults, it’s ALL bullying. We really need to re-examine this. Knocking a kid down and pepper slapping his face and then stealing his lunch money IS bullying. But jokingly calling a kid wearing glasses “four-eyes” is NOT bullying, it’s kidding! But the rocket scientists we have for school administrators would call this bullying!

  53. Eileen August 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    @john, it doesn’t matter if kids are hypersensitive at the basic level. No one is going to sit a a kid’s funeral and say “well, they were hypersensitive”…they are going to think about way they coulda/shoulda/woulda known or done something. Chalking up teen angst to being over sensitive isn’t the answer either.

    I keep looking at it this way. When I was in HS, kids gossiped. Kids talked behind each other’s back. Kids might make snide remarks to a classmate in the hallway. That is a FAR cry from the public shaming that takes place now. It’s like getting that criticism in front of your entire class, or over the school PA. Kids didn’t even have many opportunities to be a bully, it had to be done face to face. Now someone can try to publicly shame someone else, while watching TV….on the way to school….while they sit on the toilet. That’s vastly different.

    When I was in 6th grade, we moved from the NE to the deep south. I talked different, I didn’t know anyone and a big kid spent the entire year calling me “a yankee”. He never called me by my name. I was mortified and a little scared. I didn’t even really understand the line of thinking…did people really call each other rebels and yankees? It bothered me…a lot. Many, many years later, at a HS reunion, I asked him if he recalled calling me a “yankee”. He laughed and said he had a crush on me. I was shocked. I have no trouble envisioning kids that look to social media to get validation. And I have no trouble thinking that for certain kids, who are nagged by certain other kids…that things can be extremely painful.

    Again, I’m not for these monitoring systems…but I acknowledge the challenge.

  54. Warren August 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    The whole issue of bullying has gotten way out of control, and unrealistic. Another form of overprotecting.
    Kids have got to learn to deal with certain things, or they will become grown infants instead of adults.
    As it stands right now the public is lumping every little mean, uncomfortable, or insensitive look, remark, name or whatever as bullying. And that is so wrong. Kids have to build up tolerances to such things, sort of a society immune system.
    As far as cyberbullying, it is no different than any other form.
    For the most part our efforts would be better spent teaching our kids how to deal with bullying, than trying to eliminate it. Because you never will eliminate it. But right now, kids are being told that if someone makes fun of their jeans today, they are the victim of bullying. Why on earth would anyone want to teach their kids that they are victims is beyond me.
    I don’t care if it is emotional, or physical bullying, we should be teaching our kids to stand up to the bully, take it right back at them. If they are not the type to take a stand, they have to be taught to grow a thicker skin, and not feel sorry for themselves. And for the record dodgeball and being picked last for a team are not forms of bullying.

  55. Donna August 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    A 1 in 3 statistic doesn’t necessarily mean that 1 in 3 kids are bullied all the time for their entire childhood. It means 1 in 3 kids experience bullying sometime in their childhood. It could be a brief interlude with a particular kid that they find a way to resolve or it could be large-scale bullying with lasting effects.

    My daughter had a brief spurt of bullying by a mean girl frenemy. She resolved largely by herself by moving away from her own obsession with this girl and focusing more on other friends. No need for great interference or worry. I can’t say that I was remotely sad to leave this relationship behind in Samoa (nor does my daughter seem to be as she talks about other friends more), but the experience didn’t ruin her life and probably helped teach her something about real friends.

  56. Celeste August 31, 2013 at 3:32 am #

    I wonder how many people commenting actually have children over age 18. I have a set of children in their late teens-early 20’s, and another set in the 5-10 y.o range. (I remarried 12 years ago.) The shift I’ve seen over the years – in terms of media influence/participation – is absolutely staggering. I do think that many teenagers would benefit from more parental guidance where social media is concerned. It depends on the kid obviously, but sometimes, spying/monitoring is necessary & good. (I’m talking about parents, not the school – that’s just creepy.) There are plenty of immature/horny teenage kids who send or post things that they could be arrested for or placed on the sex offender list for life for. Thankfully this has never happened to my kids, but they have friends who this has happened to. To me, being free range means teaching your kids how to do things on their own and then eventually letting them go…But we were all teenagers once, and we all know that some teenagers can be stupid and/or mean sometimes, so I believe that monitoring them on social media can be a good thing depending on the circumstances. They’re not fully baked yet when they’re teenagers, and they still need us to bust them when they’re being idiotic, so we can teach them. Easy on the righteous indignation.

  57. Virginia August 31, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Kick me out of the free-range club if you want, but I kind of support this. Probably because I just read this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/nyregion/after-boys-suicide-questions-about-missed-signs.html?smid=fb-share

    about a 15-year-old who committed suicide after years of bullying at school. He announced his intention to kill himself multiple times on his Facebook page, but neither his family nor his school counselor knew about it. Evidently he told the guidance counselor that everything at school was “fine,” although it obviously wasn’t.

    The article about the social media monitoring firm says that it monitors only public posts, and only reports to the school when it sees a potential problem. This system actually gives kids *more* privacy than they’d have if school officials were monitoring their Facebook pages. Will the firm over-report and get kids into trouble for trivial things? Quite possibly. But it’s also quite possible they’ll save a kid’s life.

  58. Warren August 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    @Virginia

    This monitoring is not only about public posts. It is about opening the door. Once they have their foot in the door, it is only a small stretch to get to full monitoring.

    That teen and others that have killed themselves have not done it because of bullying. They took their own lives because they did not have the strength, or the support to deal with it. Had they been stronger people, or had a stronger support system around them, they would not have taken their own lives. Suicide is never the way. There are always other options. State sponsored stalking is not one of them.

  59. Laura September 1, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    I consider myself pretty free-range, and I don’t like the idea of schools monitoring social media. The whole bullying issue really upsets me because the way it is handled is so backwards. The only reason that schools feel that they need to monitor social media is because they aren’t watching what is happening in front of them. It’s ridiculous. If they just watch what happens in front of them during a school day, they can find a lot of the bullying that they are missing right in front of them. I know bullying is more subtle now, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to observe someone acting withdrawn or to see that the same child is always picked last or has few or no friends.

    I’m so glad I grew up before social media, but not glad that I grew up around the time Columbine happened. When I was in 4th and 5th grade (pre-columbine), I was bullied by a boy. When I approached the teachers myself, I was shrugged off and told “oh, he likes you”. A teacher actually saw him punch me and me kick him back, and I was the one that got in trouble, not him. It didn’t matter that he started it and I was defending myself. This behavior highly discouraged me from talking to anyone, because if the teachers (and later guidance counselor) didn’t listen to me, who would?

    When I was in 6th grade, Columbine happened. Suddenly, everything was considered bullying. This would have been fine except for one thing. I ended up getting in-school suspension for harassment because I told a boy that I liked him every day for 3 months. Again, everyone thought this was “cute” and “funny” (even the teachers)! Someone should have lovingly told me that this was not appropriate and would not get this boy to like me! But instead I was convinced it would. Then Columbine happened, and almost overnight, my behavior turned into reverse bullying and I was suspended.

    I’m glad I did not have social media – could you imagine if I did? But we wouldn’t have gotten to this point where the schools feel like they have to spy on us invasively behind the scenes if someone was listening and paying attention at school. We magically think that teachers are blind to this stuff. They aren’t.

    That said, I believe that the real solution to bullying is to teach the kids who are bullied confidence and self-defense skills. Having teachers who are actually observing step in to help would be beneficial. And suspend the kid who started it, not the one who hit back in order to defend themselves!

    I haven’t read much into it, but a program like this would help: https://www.graciekids.com/

  60. Per September 2, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    I’m with the school on this one. In theory it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their kids to behave responsibly on the internet. But the fact is, many parents know less about this stuff than their kids do. If the school wants to help kids learn basic netiquette and social media do:s and don’t:s, then kudos to them.
    For the kids, it is far better to have someone discretely tell them not to post pictures of their genitals wile they’re still in school, rather than they learn this the hard way when they are older and it costs them their job.

  61. Warren September 2, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    @per

    You really think that the school is going to discreetly remind students? No, they will be given detention, suspended, criminally charged and put in the public stocks.

    Or haven’t you been reading the recent trends in school punishments?

    For the amount of money being spent on this, you are not getting understanding teachers, or therapists checking in on the social media sites. You are getting tracking software that will alert on target words, phrases and pics. You will have fragments of sentences, taken out of context, and alerts sent to the principal that “X” students facebook alerted to bullying language or whatever. That student will then be forced to defend themselves.

  62. Andy September 2, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    @Per The worry is not that the school will discretely tell them not to post pictures of their genitals. As I understand it, the worry is that the school will suspend them for long or take other over the top punishment for some stupid immature joke that could have been dealt with calmly. Other worry is that the school will crack down on students that criticize administration/teachers.

    There are too many stories about administrations overreacting on minor misdeeds or provocations. If the parents would trust administration to solve issues discretely and reasonably, the outrage would be smaller.

    My worry would be that someone will tell me one day: “your son should have know the rule 378 which says no funny facebook posts after 9pm – he is suspended for one month.”

  63. mary margaret September 2, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I do not like this monitoring for the same reason I did not like the trend a few years ago of having the police fingerprint your child. It gets the child used to being monitored and fingerprinted by the government. They will get used to government stalking them throughout their lives. I would rather some children be bullied than build a nationwide complacency that kills personal freedom.

  64. Really Bad Mum September 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Just wondering since when does the school have authority outside of school hours? I’m confused about how this works, if the student is at home, outside school hours how is anything the student does any of the schools business? If bullying is going on it is up to the parents to deal with unless it happens during school hours., and how do they monitor it? Do they just add as a friend or do they hack the account? Lol my darling, evil children would most probably start posting insane stuff just to annoy them, kind of walk the thin line so the school couldn’t do anything but they would be annoyed, and with my total support!

  65. Scott September 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    All,

    As a high school teacher, I agree with all of you who question the expenditure of this money for this purpose. I could use $40K for a number of items for my lab that would significantly improve the learning environment for my students.

    To those of you who think this will actually work, I’ve worked with kids from 6th through 12th grade of over 20 years. If you all don’t think they are smart enough to get around this, you are mistaken. For one thing, most kids I know don’t use the school network, they use their cell phone. Secondly, as some has suggested, they will find other outlets. And, even if they stick with the “standard” sites, they will either do what some have suggested and start “messing with out heads”, making it much harder to find the real issues that might actually be something to worry about, or they will just set their privacy settings that will make it hard for anyone they don’t want to see things.

    Finally, to the person who thought that a 16 year old couldn’t have 700 “friends”. I volunteer with a large national organization that includes 6th through 12th graders as members. Some of the kids participate in multiple national activities (so do I) and could easily end up with 700 friends. The kind of thing we encourage them to do when they are out in the working world, network. Far from being a bad thing, I see it as very healthy. The more peers they “follow” the diverse thoughts and opinions they are exposed to, permitting them to see, hear, debate and become tolerant of world views different from their own. So, horror of horrors, they actually engage in civil discourse!

  66. Jennifer September 3, 2013 at 1:45 am #

    I don’t understand *how* they are going to do this, technically.

    If a student has a Facebook account that is not posting public, the school (or a private company) wouldn’t have access to their account without a password. Even for public posts, the school would need an accurate way of identifying the students, compared to other people with similar names who aren’t students.

    If the student is posting to Facebook from a school computer, then I can see how they’d manage it, but quite frankly, students shouldn’t be browsing social media during class in the first place.

    The only way I can see this working easily is to have social media run completely through the school administration (with the school holding the user name and passwords of students), or parents providing that information to the school.

    Otherwise, what they can do is more general searches on public posts (or twitter posts), using the names of students, staff and the schools themselves as search terms, and looking for those in conjunction with other keywords that would indicate problems. If that’s the case, this isn’t particularly a violation of privacy when it comes to free internet services – it’s less of an invasion of privacy than what Google does with your search history.

    On a more general note, the social media issue is a tricky one. It would be easy to say that it’s not the school’s business and they should stay out of it completely. But when it *is* used for bullying it is a very potent tool. If your child is being bullied, or is the subject of an internet hate campaign, and the school refuses to get involved, your options are to try and get the media company to shut down offending users (often impossible, no matter what the official policy says) or get the law involved, either through calling the police to, say, report threats, or a private lawsuit. At this point even quitting school won’t get you away from it.

    I figure that a good compromise is to have a way that cyber-bullying, or worrying postings (suicidal threats, kids posting pictures of themselves breaking the law, sexually explicit material, with or without consent) can be reported to a school authority by kids, parents, or outside people who stumble on it. That authority can then investigate to see if the issue is legitimate, and then address it. That provides help when needed, without big brother like monitoring, or having to go straight to the police to address problems.

    Kids do need some special protection against bullying when it gets bad because they don’t have the resources adults have for getting out of it – it’s a special kind of hell when you’re being tormented on a daily basis, and the authority figures in your life all force you to go and face it every day. You’re not allowed to quit, you’re not allowed to avoid your abuser, sometimes you are officially banned from defending yourself.

  67. LaFrass September 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    1) Facebook went down the shitter the moment they started letting kids and grannies onto it. Now that everybody and their pervert uncle can get on it. It used to have a semblance of privacy.

    2) I wouldn’t be surprised if schools, especially public schools, use illegal means to stalk kids. They’ve been doing it to teachers for a while. Of course, there will always be a vocal group of idiots using circular logic to defend this. School administrators really do believe they are everybody’s better qualified to be a parent than the actual parents- parent. I would know, I quit the teaching route after I quit drinking the Koolaid.

    3) what happens if a student posts their religious beliefs and that gets labeled “bigotry”? What if that teen is a libertarian and posts libertarian views? What if that teen rants about something like a bad grade or the ineptness of a teacher?

    4) and people wonder why homeschooling is becoming more popular. Gee…

  68. LaFrass September 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    And for Pete’s sake..

    Schools shouldn’t have this oversight to begin with. If students are making violent threats let the police get involved. When you have 15 year olds saying hints like “you should get raped” and “just fucking die already” call the police. They are old enough to know better, and I highly doubt that some random counselor from the school’s thought police is actually going to do anything other than screw up.

    I was bullied. Those were things I heard on a daily basis. When I complained I got labeled “suicidal” and possibly someone who was obviously so darn dangerous. It would have been great if police came in and let the bullies know exactly what their words could do to them if they were ever to act on their threats. Instead I had idiot counselor a playing armchair psychologist and not knowing the difference between a girl who just wanted the rape threats, hair pulling, etc to end and a girl who wanted to end it all.

    Please keep schools out of the police business. If it happens away from school, its not their job. Maybe teachers would feel less overworked if they quit trying on so many hats…

  69. Captain America September 4, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    I don’t know how to put this without sounding “political”, but so be it, if you see it this way.

    We are headed in the direction of Thought Police and thought policing.

    This is pretty evident. . . “hate crimes” concept encourages it. . . the internet and telecommunications capacities easily allow it. . . ostensible “justification” for this because of terrorism.

    It’s really a war on democracy being led by a portion of society. And it’s not a republican vs. democrat thing, either.

  70. Xena_Rulz September 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    In 10th grade, my English teacher decided to have us all keep journals, which she read over the weekends. And commented on. Not just spelling and punctuation (kind of ridiculous of her to enforce, for a “free writing” exercising) – she also warned us to watch our language when we cussed, noted that we were “wrong” about how someone treated us, etc. After two weeks of this, my journal entries consisted of just facts – went to school, ate lunch, had band practice. As soon as kids figure out someone is monitoring and judging them, they’ll just stop writing anything that could incriminate them. What do the authorities think this will solve?

  71. Alecta September 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    If I were a student at this school, I would lock down all my accounts to the public, except for a big message reading “Big Brother is watching”. There are so many things that can be taken as “cyber bullying” that are just kids playing around. How many kids are going to be suspended and put in detention, or even expelled over private conversations off of school property? How is this even legal? It’s not teaching kids anything, it’s just paranoia.

    I grew up in the advent of the internet and my parent’s policy was always to advise me to be careful but never to snoop in my business. It gave me confidence, let me make my own mistakes, and made me into a mature internet user without feeling I needed to hide everything for fear they might find it unsavory. These kids, growing up hiding everything, aren’t learning safety or how to act reasonably online. They’ll likely self-destruct the moment they turn 18.

  72. b September 7, 2013 at 3:58 am #

    You don’t send your kids to school to be stalked by them.

    These schools have lost their focus.

  73. JP September 10, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    The operative thing here is the word, monitor.
    Actually, I can see an interesting future development, should this toxin spread nationally.
    Kids will start doing what they did before the cell phone was invented, and royal battles waged hotly in households that only had one telephone (landline.)
    They will, um……actually talk to one another in real time and space…face to face.
    Imagine that.
    For their own protection and peace of mind.
    It will be kids against monitors.

    Now, a cynic would say the little tykes will never give up the social media they’re addicted to. A good argument.
    Depends on what’s at stake.
    I’d say offhand that every kid has a creep quota.
    Spying is still spying.
    And who exactly monitors what?
    How many gazzilion bytes of info are there to be reviewed?
    Job prospects for the unemployed grads of the future?
    Who pays?

    Where is the bright 14 year old who can turn the tables – and monitor the monitors? Wouldn’t that be some crapstorm, um?

    We have lounge lizards. They can be found proliferating throughout the public realm.
    Then we have monitor lizards – a different and frightening animal. The bacteria in this lizard’s mouth is so toxic, that it’s method of hunting is to bite its prey and then just go chill for a day or two. When it returns, its bitten victim is so sick that it just falls over, and the lizard dines with abondon.

    Imagine trying to “monitor” the youth of the nation, and figure out just exactly what’s up with them? How to decode the gibberish? What does it all mean?

    Long ago and far away Spiro Agnew, in his great and infinite wisdom, declared upon his honor that Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water contained a secred drug code message….
    to wit: “Sail on silvergirl”
    silvergirl………was of course the nickname for some substance that you um, “sailed” on.
    Life is a cartoon.
    But Warner Brothers did it better.

  74. Gary September 11, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Laura,

    The biggest problem with the internet today is not parents not being over their kids shoulders spying on all they do, it is parents spying on their kids. Lord knows I feel sorry for your kids, I really do. When I was a kid, my parents taught me right from wrong and let me go out in the world a do my thing.

    I watched over an over the kids that went to the catholic schools, get to the high school and then just go completely wild. They lied to parents, they had all the sex they could have. They created e-mail accounts and such that their parents had no idea about, in order to have a life.

    Kids will rebel, and if you shelter them from everything in high school, they will do it in college.

    If I wanted to go to a party, I would the rents that I was going, where it was and there was no problem. I never had to check in all the time, the only thing I was told was that if I drank anything, I was to spend the night.

    For a kid to hear his parent support this kind of surveillance, well that would just confirm to them that they can have no privacy. I am so tired of hearing parents, politicians and all saying something is “to protect the children”. What you and they want to do is to run children’s lives. Can’t have them learning anything we don’t want them to learn, etc.