Social media monitoring of schools may have saved a life

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Glendale USD in southern California has taken an unprecedented step in bullying and crime prevention by paying a company to analyze students’ public posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media.

The company, Geo Listening, searches the public social media activity of middle and high school students for signs of bullying, suicidal messages, vandalism, drug use, and crime. Analysts flag potentially harmful posts in a daily report for administrators, who decide whether or not to intervene, says Chris Frydrych, CEO of Geo Listening.

The district is paying $40,500 for the service. Administrators tested the program in three high schools last spring, after a student in the district committed suicide. During the pilot period, the company reported a student’s suicidal messages to district officials, and administrators were able to step in to help.