When it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity, the laws from state to state vary drastically.
For example, a new Illinois law gives school administrators the ability to demand a student’s social media passwords if they have ‘reasonable cause’ to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.
In California, the law requires school administrators notify parents of any plans to monitor social media and allow students to review whatever information is collected.
According to Justin Patchin, the Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, many school districts take part in rudimentary monitoring, but it’s rare for K-12 schools to use a service to monitor external traffic around-the-clock.
Why? Well, while there is probably no criminal liability, comprehensive social media monitoring could put schools in difficult positions when it comes to which posts they choose to act upon.
It becomes overly objective, and hard to manage. With that said, many school districts have taken a step back and have started educating parents on how to understand and use popular social media websites.
To help students be safe and responsible on social media, here are some helpful tips k-12 schools can share with parents:
2. Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to use a computer, they are old enough to understand the rules they need to follow. Breaking these rules should have consequences. Some suggest having all the family members sign a “social media contract”.
3. Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It is much easier to monitor a child’s online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone in the house. Popular places include the kitchen or family room.
For more social media tips for parents, check out this article.