#watchwhatyoutweet: social media monitoring in school and beyond

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Jessica Jurado

Easily accessible at all hours of the day, the majority of twitter posts, or “tweets”, are made from mobile devices

Post, notification, update, check, upload, loading, click, tap; all are words we use daily. However, they were scarcely used before this generation’s social media boom. Not only this, but mobile devices as common as cell phones carry the capabilities of a computer, changing once stationary programs into apps meant for use on the go. One of these many apps is Twitter, a widely popular social media site based on the instant sharing of current events.Twitter is a way to keep updated with current events, access daily information on favorite celebrities, connect with friends, and just share thoughts. Yet, like most social media sites, problems such as bullying and threats arise often. Because of this, schools have begun to take steps to prevent such events of harassment. School districts in Texas, California, and Florida have even hired companies to monitor students’ twitter accounts. While many students think of this as an invasion of privacy, the administration of these school districts have been able to assist many victims through this method.

The students with no involvement in these cases of harassment of course feel as if they should have the right to “tweet” without the school’s prying eyes watching their account. This poses the question: How far is too far? Of course the teens lash out at the schools, accusing the administration of intruding in matters that don’t concern these authoritative figures. “It’s one thing to monitor events having to do with the school, but its something completely different to interfere with personal activities outside of school” says Junior Lizzie Farley, “I understand the reasoning behind it all, and the way it can help students, but there is still a line of privacy that shouldn’t be crossed.”

In response to these claims, the schools explain that because of the layout of Twitter, it is impossible to monitor the student body, yet also give them privacy. In many cases, teens’ lives have been saved due to the intervention of the administration. This is because when the monitors pick up obvious cases of bullying or tweets implying suicide, they are able to step in and provide the needed assistance. When it comes to such serious situations, most students prefer to sacrifice a bit of privacy in order to save a peer.

The monitoring of social media sites has both pros and cons for those doing the posting. However, such monitoring will not end after highschool graduation. Many companies looking to hire youthful employees will browse through the profiles of those applying for a job. The overall moral of the story: watch what you post, it could impact you or someone close to you for years to come.