The Internet is a place to explore, learn and communicate. Some teenagers, however, mistake the Internet for a place to cause harm to others. Cyber-bullying is said to be one of the most vicious and malicious forms of bullying, as hateful comments are more easily said behind a computer screen than they are in person. It’s time that some action is taken.
Fortunately, the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) understands the gravity of the issue. The district is paying Geo Listening, a Hermosa Beach company, to keep an eye on student activity via online social media. The company will look out for student posts regarding hate, cyber-bullying, depression and other issues that teens may be going through.
Students have become more cautious about what they post as a result of the policy.
Hye Kwang Kim, a sophomore at Crescenta Valley High School, says, “It makes me more aware and careful about what I say online now. I guess you can say it’s a good thing.”
According to Kelly Corrigan, a reporter for the Glendale News-Press, GUSD is paying $40,500 to monitor posts made by 13,000 students. The district’s ultimate goal is to ensure physical and emotional safety for its students.
Despite the good intentions of GUSD officials, the idea is controversial. Due to recent budget cuts in GUSD funding, school spending is a huge issue that concerns people when considering the feasibility of this policy. According to the district’s pay schedule, the price of the program is roughly equivalent to a year’s salary for a first-year teacher.
It’s for monetary reasons that Harry Pak, a junior at Crescenta Valley High School, disagrees with GUSD.
“The amount of money going into this new policy should be going into absolute necessities, such as textbooks,” he says. “[Furthermore,] everyone likes their privacy. Being paternalistic isn’t the right way to approach students.”
Nevertheless, some students see the bright side in the district taking action to protect them.
Angela Kang, 14, a sophomore at Crescenta Valley High School, says “I have this friend who was constantly cyber-bullied throughout eighth grade. It got to the point where she had to drop out of school to avoid the harassment. I can’t help but imagine maybe if GUSD were looking at our posts back then, maybe she wouldn’t have been bullied so much.”