The Fine Line of Privacy

A school district in Glendale, California is creating quite a bit of buzz – from major news outlets to blogs and forums – over it’s scandalous new program to promote students’ safety. The school has invested $40,500 to monitor the social media accounts of 14,000 middle and high school students, essentially creating a database of all public photos, posts, rants about teachers and raves about underage parties. Needless to say, many students are worried about the footprint they are leaving behind.

The school district created this initiative with aim to increase safety, decrease illegal behavior like violence, drugs and underage drinking, the use of excessive social media use during school hours and cyber bulling. Despite criticism, the school is claiming the program already saved a bullied student from committing suicide last year during a trial run.

Supporters argue that the students’ privacy is not being violated, as the school only has access to public posts on the various social networks. Others feel that this is a scene all too familiar from “1984”.

Having an openly public “social” life is a double-edged sword; you may open yourself up to a larger audience and gain a following, but you may be putting out too much information that could potentially hurt you. Be judicious with what you post publicly online – or, when in doubt, go private.

Do you think the school’s monitoring system is a violation of privacy?

(photo credit:

Eidos Tweet: “All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez