How Location Based Social Media Monitoring Protects Students

Oct 02, 2016

When you send your child off to school, you’re entrusting their care to educators; you also have the expectation that schools are safe havens. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’ve got backup when it comes to your child’s online and real-life safety? Let’s take a look at the interconnectedness of social media and education.

Teachers are encouraged to utilize social media in their classrooms and, I would argue, play an important role in teaching our children responsible digital citizenship. Pew Research Center reports that 92 percent of teens go online daily, and of those teens with internet access, 96 percent of them utilize social media. The rise in smartphone ownership among students contributes to the rise in social media use, and technology now allows that information to be used to protect them.

Parental control software, such as Net Nanny, provides a dashboard for parents to review their child’s interactions on social media, making it easier than ever to monitor activity. And while you’re monitoring your child’s actions on social media, it’s great to know that schools are also watching. Let’s take a look at how location-based social media monitoring works.

Location-based social media monitoring allows school districts to gather data about their students, and the goings-on in their schools, through what kids are posting on social media. New technology, like Snaptrends, allows school districts to utilize social media to monitor and assess threats to the safety of their students. Location-based monitoring gives schools the ability to monitor and assess all of the social media activity going on in their school and the immediate vicinity.

With the sheer number of students -- 92 percent -- online throughout the day, location-based technology allows schools to sift and analyze the social media data from the area in and around school grounds, filtering posts for specific keywords. Administrators can set software look for a range of signal keywords, such as kill, shoot, die, guns, etc. The specialized software then presents all of the social media posts, within the designated school perimeter, that feature selected keywords.

With the pool of potentially threatening or dangerous social media posts narrowed down in a dashboard, the person analyzing the data is able to use multiple tools to determine if a.) the person posting is a student and b.) the identity of the person posting (if it is a student). Once administrators have identified a student, they are then able to locate the student, based upon the location of the posting.

I’m sure you’re wondering how this serves to protect your child while he’s in school. Well, software like this is able to monitor for bomb threats, track down drug dealers (and users), be alerted to possible weapons being brought inside, identify gang activity, and even pinpoint potentially suicidal students.

This software sends alerts in real time, which can drastically reduce the response time to a dangerous or threatening situation within the school. Not only do programs like this aid administrators, almost like another set of eyes and ears, but they keep our children safe.

You would be amazed by the things kids post on social media, and how oblivious they are to their digital footprint. Not only does location-based social media monitoring help keep your child safe from others, it can also keep kids safe from themselves. When life gets in the way, and you’ve not had a chance to take a look at your child’s online activity, it’s great to know that schools are also monitoring.