The compliance issues solved by social media monitoring and capture
Social media monitoring and capture provide valuable insight for educators and administrators. The secret lives of students on social networks – lives that inevitably cross over onto school time and include posts and messages written while on school grounds – are revealed to an extent. The information provided by monitoring solutions empower school leaders to take action against harassment more quickly that would otherwise be possible, even if that abuse isn’t visible in the physical halls of a school.
Protecting students from each other and themselves is an incredible benefit provided by monitoring software, but it’s not the only way these solutions benefit educational institutions. The specter of compliance with local, state and federal laws related to reporting incidents with students is a major concern for school boards, administrators and educators, alike. A failure to follow those rules and regulations, especially when it comes to documenting confrontations, can lead to issues with regulators as well as legal challenges from families who had children harmed by such actions. Monitoring turns unstructured data related to social networks, as well as instant message chats and Web searches, into both actionable information and compliant records needed for various legal and regulatory challenges.
“Social monitoring is a powerful tool for discouraging gender-based discrimination via fast identification.”
Compliance with Title IX was recently made a point of emphasis by the U.S. Department of Education and its Office of Civil Rights, as highlighted in a letter from the DOE. With recent enforcement changes made to the rules and higher expectations from the DOE – including a strong recommendation to designate an employee as a Title IX coordinator exclusive of any other duties – it’s important that educational institutions give these changes proper recognition. The DOE also suggested that increased compliance will include both training for staff and spending on training, tools and systems. Monitoring tools fill a dual purpose in this role. They allow school leaders to more easily locate instances of gender-based discrimination happening online and providing documentation of the incident for subsequent investigation.
Social and Internet monitoring doesn’t completely take over for Title IX coordinators. However, it provides a powerful tool both for discouraging gender-based discrimination via fast identification of such issues and essential documentation for ensuing regulatory and legal needs.
Harassment and discrimination laws
While there are no federal laws that specifically address bullying, some states and municipalities have such rules. And no matter a school’s obligation under local and state laws, federal harassment and discrimination laws often apply to bullying that also qualifies as harassment of a protected group or class. This point is made clear in guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights and other authorities. Beyond the specific, gender-based requirements of Title IX, educators also have to contend with bullying based on a wide variety of personal qualities. With so many different laws in place and the obligation for school staff to not only diffuse active bullying situations when discovered, but report incidents to the proper authorities.
When it comes to the sometimes-hidden world of social media and other Web-based interactions, social and Internet monitoring sheds light on the events leading up to and during bullying incidents. With information that relays exactly what was said between students online, it’s easier for administrators to determine the type of abuse taking place. That same data makes any investigations or audits following such events easier as well. While no monitoring solution can replace the need for educators and administrators to stay alert to the signs of bullying, the software can drastically improve the efficacy of those efforts.