Monitoring Students' Social Media Posts

By Corinne Rose

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 13, 2013 at 10:20 AM EDT

DECATUR, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- School security -- or a lack thereof -- continues to make headlines.

But an Indiana company is hoping to change that, by keeping up with kids online.

A former state trooper founded Social Net Watcher as a way for school districts to monitor students posts on social media in real time.

Tuesday, representatives from four northeast Indiana school districts attended a presentation about the application that scans students' social media posts for key words or phrases linked to violence, suicide and bullying.

If the computer algorhythm locks onto something, an alert is sent immediately to school administrators who decide what to do with the information.

Parents and students would sign consent forms, so the company's vice president says privacy is not an issue.

"Students, when they are on Facebook, they understand that they've already put everything out there. There's no privacy on Facebook. It is for the world wide web. And so they understand that they are monitored on Facebook, they're monitored for marketing reasons, for data banking," says Social Net Watcher Vice President Susan Canal.

The monitoring application costs $7 per student per year at middle and high schools.

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