A law that went into effect this year requires schools around the state to create new anti-bullying policies and better report incidents of violence.
North Putman Middle School Principal Terrey Tippin says his school has turned to Social Net Watcher—a software that tracks students’ social media pages.
If it notices any key phrases that might involve threats of violence or suicide, it sends an alert to school administrators.
“I feel more comfortable now that what kids are talking about whether it be: bullying, suicide, or school safety issues. I am more aware of what the chatter is out there,” Tippin says.
Students must agree to let the software track their social media sites, but Social Net Watcher President Bruce Canal says the software still creates tangible data schools and the state department of education can rely on when creating anti-bullying policies—and social media is a key part of that.
“Cyber-bullying is a very contagious type of anomaly. It’s easy for kids to say things on the internet that they would normally never say face-to-face. It creates an atmosphere where more kids get involved in it. You get a lot of other kids who chime in on this bullying and it grows,” Canal says.
Under the new law, schools must begin reporting bullying incidents to the state next school year.