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: