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Glendale, California, schools hire the firm 'Geo Listening' to monitor students' public posts on social media.


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Los Angeles (CNN) -- A suburban Los Angeles school district is now looking at the public postings on social media by middle and high school students, searching for possible violence, drug use, bullying, truancy and suicidal threats.
The district in Glendale, California, is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students' posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year.
Though critics liken the monitoring to government stalking, school officials and their contractor say the purpose is student safety.
As classes began this fall, the district awarded the contract after it earlier paid the firm, Geo Listening, $5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project monitoring 9,000 students at three high schools and a middle school. Among the results was a successful intervention with a student "who was speaking of ending his life" on his social media, said Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm.         . . .clip   

Chris Frydrych


Founder at Geo Listening
Greater Los Angeles Area 
Education Management


Turn on your always monitoring service

It’s a fact.  Your students are posting to social networks right from your campus.   Due to the pervasive use of mobile devices and social networks, the parents, staff and the school administrators responsible for these students must be more effective in processing this information.
Every day, there are posts about vandalism, crime, drugs, and all types of bullying from children who hope someone is listening. The volume of these posts is so overwhelming that it would be nearly impossible for schools – on their own- to efficiently filter through and take effective action. Geo Listening is an always monitoring service of all public posts on social networks that originate from your school campuses.


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Frydrych's firm scours the social media postings of Glendale students aged 13 and older -- the age at which parental permission isn't required for the school's contracted monitoring -- and sends a daily report to principals on which students' comments could be causes for concern, Frydrych said.
The company won't disclose its methods and practices in gathering the students' messages, but it does use key words in its searches. The firm also didn't disclose how it confirms the youths are indeed students of the district.


To do the work, Frydrych employs no more than 10 full-time staffers -- as well as "a larger portion" of contract workers across the globe who labor a maximum of four hours a day because "the content they read is so dark and heavy," Frydrych said.  . . .clip
Geo Listening also monitors whether students are talking about drug use, cutting class or violence. The firm even ascertains whether pupils are using their smartphone during class time, Frydrych said.
While critics say the Glendale schools' contract is an invasion of privacy, Frydrych said his firm helps schools bridge a digital-age communications "chasm."
"Parents and school district personnel -- they are not able to effectively listen to the conversation where it's happening now," Frydrych said. "The notion about talking in class is about as old-fashioned as a Studebaker, no offense to the makers of the car."


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