Spying on School Kids

With the advent of social media, many teachers and school faculty members have been spying on their students during non-school hours. There have been numerous reports of students and teachers being disciplined by school officials for something they posted on social media on the students’ own private time – nights and weekends.

In 2011, second grade teacher Viki Knox faced possible suspension or termination because of what she posted on her own Facebook page on her own time. The school where Knox teaches was publicly recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual History Month. On her own personal Facebook page, Knox wrote that homosexuality is a sin and that it ‘breeds like a cancer.’ She also wrote that the publicizing of LGBT History Month was ‘unnatural, immoral behavior before the rest of us.’

In 2014, it was reported:

“The Huntsville, Alabama school district, for example, hired a former FBI agent on a $157,000 annual salary in January to lead a team of three staffers who track what students post on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit and other sites, according to WHNT.”

“So far, the team has uncovered threatening or inappropriate online comments that lead to the expulsion of 14 students.”

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“After two students in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale committed suicide in recent years, district officials there hired a tech firm at $40,500 per year to track what students post publicly online. Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm Geo Listening, told CNN the software has already helped one student who posted on social media about ending his life.”

“‘We were able to save a life,’ Glendale superintendent Richard Sheehan said. ‘It’s just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety.’”

“David Jones, president of another tracking company – Safe Outlook Corporation – said he has several clients who pay between $4,000 and $9,000 per year for CompuGardian, which has some very in-depth snooping capabilities.”

Schools are not the only ones spying on school kids – YOUR KIDS. A number of tech companies including Google, are spying and tracking everything your kids do using electronic devices at school.

EAGNews reported:

“A new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation is exposing how tech companies are spying on students using classroom technology that tracks names, birth dates, browsing histories, location data and other information.”

“‘EFF’s ‘Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy’ shows that state and federal law, as well as industry self-regulation, has failed to keep up with a growing educational technology industry,’ according to the group’s announcement last week.”

“‘At the same time, schools are eager to incorporate technology in the classroom to engage students and assist teachers, but may unwittingly help tech companies surveil and track students. Ultimately, students and their data are caught in the middle without sufficient privacy protections’.”

“The report notes that the proliferation of school-issued computers for students, coupled with educational services utilizing the cloud, is increasingly exposing information about students to tech companies without the knowledge or consent of parents.”

“The three-part analysis focused on surveys and interviews with parents, an in-depth look at legal and policy framework for education technology companies, and recommendations to better protect student privacy.”

“The findings showed about a third of all K-12 students in the U.S. use school issued-devices, and roughly half of those students use Google Chromebooks. In total, more than 30 million students, teachers and administrators use the company’s education apps.”

Some schools lend or provide laptops or tablets for the students to use at home for homework. These devices may also contain the same apps that allow tech companies to spy on your kids while away from school and at home. Some schools also provide students with access to certain programs and website for use on their own personal computers for the purpose of helping with school work.

The truly ironic part of all of this is some courts have ruled against parents’ spying on their own children, but evidently, it’s okay for other to spy on them. Sounds backwards to me.

How much of your child’s privacy is being invaded by tech spying via the electronic devices they use? How much of your child’s personal information do you want them to have?



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