During school hours, I give all my time and attention to school. But once classes are over, I need my privacy. I don’t want my school administrators to be reading things that are intended for my friends and family. That’s why I don’t think schools should monitor students’ social media. Teens need a balance of school time and personal time, and social media should be something that we can have for ourselves.
When schools start monitoring social media accounts, they restrict what students share and express. A lot of students turn to social media as a place to communicate their feelings. I know I’m not the only one who would feel pressure to censor what I post if I knew administrators were reading my messages. I don’t want to have to worry that every private joke or sarcastic comment I make might be misinterpreted and potentially get me in trouble.
Some schools claim that monitoring students’ social media could alert school administrators to students who are bullying others or who might even be a threat to the school. These are great goals, but I believe they’re unrealistic. The truth is, many schools already have a hard time keeping track of everyone’s official school email accounts. Most schools simply don’t have the time or the resources to monitor every student’s various social media feeds.
As a result, schools that do monitor social media often depend on algorithms to search for keywords or phrases. We all know it’s hard enough for human adults to understand the nuances of teen slang and shorthand. How could an algorithm tell the difference between a harmless joke and an actual cause for alarm?
Instead of monitoring our social media, schools should teach students to behave safely and responsibly both online and in real life. If schools taught us how to combat cyberbullying, treat each other with respect and empathy, and help a friend who is going through a rough time, they could address the root causes of many of the problems schools monitor social media for, while also allowing students to retain a degree of privacy.