Local company launches program to monitor students’ online posts

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PLAINFIELD, IND. — A local man said he spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement and in school security, but two years ago, he decided it was time to turn from a physical officer presence at schools to a digital presence.

“What I’ve witnessed over the last few years is a lot of students, whether they’re reaching out for help, they’ve been using Facebook as a vehicle, or to perpetrate a crime or to bully someone,” Bruce Canal said.

Canal launched Social Net Watcher to monitor what students are posting online. The algorithm detects dangerous words, then scans for phrases to put those words in context. If someone posts about hurting themselves or hurting others, then the school administrators get a push alert to their smart phones and email addresses. There are three different color code alerts for violence, possible suicide threats, and bullying.

“We know now in the wake of the event at Sandy Hook that parents are very concerned and students are sometimes frightened to go to school…. If a student posts something stupid, then they’re going to pay consequences, and this hopefully will give the administration a chance to intercede and thwart that action before a student makes a really stupid mistake,” said Canal.

Monday morning. Shortridge High School and Indianapolis Public School will launch the program at school.

Social Net Watcher is an application that runs on Facebook accounts. Students will learn how to voluntarily sign up for the app at Monday’s presentation.

Chance Jackson, who was shot twice by classmate Michael Phelps at their Martinsville middle school in 2011, is a proponent of Social Net Watcher.

Examples of the alerts follow:

SNW3

Example of a violence alert

SNW1

Example of a bully alert

SNW2

Example of a suicide alert

16 comments

  • martinstucky

    So the students have to voluntarily sigh up for the service? Like the gun toting scumbags are going to sign up for the service anyway…….

      • martinstucky

        Most kids won't sign up for this anyway. If their parents make them sigh up they will just set up a new account and have a "clean" account. This is the same moronic argument as gun control. If you make guns illegal then just the criminals will have them. No kid is going to sign up for this service and then add this type of comments on their facebook. The new joke will be to hack all your friends facebooks and add comments like this to get out of a math test as they close down the school.
        My suggestion is that they should take heed when someone tells them about a threatening comment on a facebook account rather than dismissing it like they did in Martinsville. The community will police the network better than this program.
        Next question is what other data will he be collecting and selling to advertisers, sex offenders etc. If he can monitor this type of data he could certainly collect a great deal of information which can be valuable. I think the "1984" comment is quite accurate.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    lol!

    Always someone trying to make a digital hustle! Now, I'm not knocking this guy but…well…this is just dumb.

    First off, the first line of defense with social networking for children and teens are the parents. There's a plethora of tools available for parents to choose from with the parents having access to the minor's account being the most effective (also some Fox59 did an advertisement like this one for some nutty service where parents and children have to sign up to have accounts monitored)

    Secondly, WTF makes the guy think a trouble child is going to put forth the effort to sign up for this?

    Also, why are school admins getting an alert? If a child posts threats or some other nonsense, the parent needs to be notified as a priority, not some fat azzed school admin.

    Fox59! Really!? These articles are obvious advertisements because it's very little news worthiness in them. How does one get presented on Fox59 in this capacity? To whom must we write a check?

    Seriously…I want to know because I want to write a check too! lol

    • NoTime

      You really have no clue as to how the program works as we can see from your post. Why don't you learn first, then comment?

      • ClanSmokeJaguar

        Hey! lol…I know enough based off what the article says. If my understanding is flawed then blame Fox59.

        Either way you look at it, it's a heavily flawed concept of which no one in their right mind will subscribe to.

        However, based off the 2012 elections, there's plenty of people who fit that bill so good luck and God speed!

  • Guest

    If there was some way to force these kids to sign up for this then it would be a great tool! I think it's a great idea.

  • wjsobo1

    This is one the most outrageous forms of invasion of privacy I have ever heard of in my life and I'm not young. People in our country seem to just love to strong arm others and control their entire life. Yet they always seem to want to take the easy way out. To use a bandaid for a short term fix on a major social issue that's been going on for years. There are particular kids that like to bully. These children need to be identified young, taught correct behavior and monitored. You absolutely do not institute a system that has the ability for abuse that can potentially ruin a child's entire life. It is ludicrous to believe you need this system to identify bullies or emotionally disturbed children. We have neglected to provide the necessary resources required to eliminate the problems. The bottom line is these children have been neglected by their parents, the schools and society. It is totally irresponsible to jeopardize all children's future for the neglect of a few. Get rich, knee jerk reactions are never good for the masses.

  • Julie

    My brilliant husband (the man at the computer) developed this software and I think it's awesome! He worked months on this. Cut him some slack.

  • Julie

    No one else is stepping up to do anything about violence. And your criticizing the ones who do. If you have a better plan, by all means…

Comments are closed.