As with any issue in today’s society, the topic of cyberbullying and online protection can now be boiled down to “Big Brother is Watching.”
In Glendale County, California, a new system has been put in place that uses a third party company to monitor social media network accounts of every student in their district. The spoken purpose is to guard students against the dangers of cyber bullying. At face value, this seems like a worthy cause. The question is, where does it stop?
If the company sees evidence of self-harm, can they report it? It doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of “cyber bullying,” but it is only to save a student’s life, right? However, if this system is allowed to go into place, despite the good it may do, there will always be another small step of monitoring “for the greater good.”
According to the LA Times the third party company, Geo Listen, will be creating a report to enumerate frequency of posts relating to cyber bullying, hate and other sensitive topics.
Now, my opinion is not to be misconstrued, cyber bullying is a huge problem in the United States today. But the problem is that the only way this system works is in a perfect society where human error is taken out of the variables. Humans are always going to justify going that one little step further, but when is it time to say enough is enough and realize that in a system like this, despite the potential for small good, the bad will ultimately outweigh.
Whether it is drug abuse, or cyber bullying, or self-harm, or any other extenuating circumstance, ultimately the system will fail as it always does.
There is always a way to justify your actions. If you allow a person to talk long enough they will find a way to make even the most heinous crimes seem justifiable.
Perhaps this is the answer- monitoring of social media to predict, prevent and rapidly respond to crimes or dangerous situations. But this is the wrong way to go about it.
If the government is going to do this, there needs to be a standard in place that can watch the watchers. Government monitoring and standardization may be able to tether these small corporations in place and make sure that personal liberties, information or privacy are not being invaded.
The key to a program like this is the correct amount of awareness of every party involved. The corporations need to know that they will not be able to get away with pushing boundaries, children and families need to understand the protective potential an action like this has, and schools need to be taking the initiative and actually helping students before it becomes a problem.
Don’t let Big Brother bully the American people. We have liberties that those who came before us fought for, and I for one want to make sure that those who come after me still have those same freedoms. It is time to put our collective foot down.
Isaac Morley is a sophomore Business Administration and English Education double major. Follow him @Isaac_Morley – Letters and feedback can be sent to Letters@collegian.com