AT has added a new program to student computers, GoGuardian. GoGuardian is an educational tech company that was founded in 2014 and is Los Angeles-based. The GoGuardian program allows schools to monitor student activity through many different means.
GoGuardian enables teachers to monitor student screens and close unwanted tabs. A program like GoGuardian can help keep students on track, however, is this type of program acceptable for an age range of high school students?
A recurring issue with AT’s new methods of discipline is that they have become far too puerile for the age of high school students. Phone pockets on the wall, GoGuardian, etc. It is one thing to enact certain regulations at the elementary level, even middle school, but for them to be in a high school is unwonted.
Once again we are babying a group of people that should know better because they have not been taught to know better. Students who do not know how to stay on task need to learn the hard way that their behavior will not help them achieve in life.
The bottom line is, in high school, students should be given more freedom and ability to test their self-restraint. Elementary school is practice for Middle school. Middle school is practice for high school. High school is practice for the real world: jobs, college, and relationships. Students will not have a GoGuardian watching over them to see that they are doing the right thing, and they must be put into a position to become prepared for that fact.
By the age of 14 to 18, being monitored as heavily as on a program such as GoGuardian is bizarre. The program, at the nicest, can only be described as invasive. It is a spyware program.
GoGuardian is automatically downloaded into every student’s computer. There is no way to accept or decline its use, it is automated to allow your screen to be monitored. The program cannot be removed, as it is a school-wide program.
When using GoGuardian it allows those on the other end of the screen to see data, including data originating from a student’s webcam, microphone, keyboard, and screen, along with browsing history. The program will not allow students to be observed after school hours or outside of AT wifi, which is at least a plus side to this invasion of privacy.
However, this type of spyware program can cause students to become paranoid. There is a level of uncertainty about technology, and with a spyware program, it is still unsettling despite what may be said. Schools should not enact programs that bring up such paranoia. Students should be made to feel as safe as possible, and not worried that their teachers could be watching them.
At the end of the day, GoGuardian infringes on the privacy of students. We must learn how to balance the idea of online safety and keeping students on track with the work, and what is acceptable to ensure students have their 4th amendment right to privacy.