Are the kids all right? These school surveillance apps sure want to tell you

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「Apps like Apple Classroom, DyKnow, and ClassDojo extend these common disciplinary practices into online spaces. Apple Classroom and DyKnow, which bills itself as “classroom-management software for teachers,” allow teachers to remotely lock students’ computers or tablets into particular apps in order to cut off distractions and the temptation to cheat. These apps also let teachers call up real-time images of students’ screens and histories of apps each student has used during class to check who has been following instructions and who was off-task.」

If the school and teachers are so worried about students not doing what they're supposed to be doing then why not just lock the devices to just certain apps or ban phones in the classroom? This is not rocket science. If you implement either of the two then there is no real need to surveil them. This is also wasting the teachers' time who could be concentrating their efforts elsewhere.

「Class DoJo, DyKnow, and Apple Classroom all surveil students’ behaviors in the classroom environment. But schools also sometimes reach into spaces generally understood as private, such as backpacks and lockers. The Supreme Court has maintained that students retain their rights — including their right to be free from unreasonable searches — to some degree inside schools, but that those rights are counterbalanced by the school’s need to maintain a safe environment conducive to learning. Exactly where the line is drawn is continually being renegotiated especially as technology — and cultural responses to mass shootings and increases in teen suicides — evolves. Products like Securly and Gaggle, which surveil typically private online spaces like email accounts, documents, private calendars, and search histories and, unlike locker or backpack searches, can involve reaching into the documents and communications that a student creates while at home, sit on the extreme end of the spectrum of ways schools monitor and safeguard students. These companies lean on emotionally charged language in explaining what they do.」

So we're voluntarily surveilling children at school. Fucking VOLUNTARILY! In China they have surveillance systems in place that go even further - They have surveillance cameras in the classroom that can even detect the emotions and behaviors through facial recognition! Not paying attention to class? Not doing your schoolwork? Looking tired? You'll be punished by notification to the teacher or have your grades lowered for petty shit. At that point - You are forced to behave or act a certain way to prevent being punished! That is reaching the territory of thoughtcrime. You can't be yourself anymore and have to conform to a camera that is watching you at all times. Not only that - These surveillance systems are used on children - They grow up to think this is normal and will not give a critical thought about it. It will be a daily part of their lives - Being monitored day by day. They will even start to believe its a good thing for petty reasons such as "It will help me stay focused" or "It will remind me to pay attention in class". And this all comes down to my worst fear - Normalization of surveillance. It will be the new normal - In some cases it already has. Social media such as Facebook, smartphones, Windows 10, credit cards, etc.

Some supplementary insightful comments courtesy of Slashdot:

Re:Then you lack the experience and imagination.

「I am SOOOOO glad I grew up in the days before cell phones and cameras everywhere.I would not have had as much fun or experienced so much as a kid growing up if I"d been surveyed constantly like they are today.

Hell, if I were raised like they are today, I guess I"d have been taken away from my parents by protective services (I did play and run all over neighborhoods un-supervised for most any given day).....and likely my antics would have landed me likely on some terrorist watch list.

That and when I sit around with old friends, we trade stories of mischief we got into....thankfully no photo documentation of it to haunt our adult lives, but we do all remember and laugh about it over drinks from time to time.

I'll definitely trade my independence and ability to run all over the place unsupervised, and to spend genuine time in meatspace with friends I am still close with over these past decades, over the higher tech today....where you see kids on a date out heads bent over phones rather than interacting with each other, getting to know each other, etc.

Sure, growing up as I did...I failed, I fucked up...I got caught occasionally, but I lived and learned through it.

ON the other hand, I did have a film camera back in the day, and when it was out....I did make sure to keep all the negatives, if by chance anyone I grew up with becomes a senator or runs for that I can a good job/compensation for keeping said negatives private.


Re:Then you lack the experience and imagination.

「This is the natural result of a fear driven society. We are so risk adverse that we are steadily introducing and inviting more and more tyranny... and everyone knows that leads to misery, suffering, and conflict.

All, just to keep you safe!」

Kids under surveillance are ... not alright

「They are prisoners. They are not lacking a limb, but something of equal importance for human personality: Their freedom.

It's the opposite of *being alive* (in the metaphorical sense).

Statistically, crime has gone *down*.

Only fear has gone up. On a level that I have to call it a pandemic of mental illness. We walked to school in the 80s. Or to the bus stop. Everyone. To first class even. (OK, this was central Europe. Don't know about the US.) So logically, that should still be the case, and parents should be *more* relaxed. They aren't. That is called a delusion. It requires therapy.」

Creepy as fuck

「For fuck's sake if you think kids are abusing their smartphones in class then just take them away or institute a policy whereby they're only allowed to have basic dumbphones with them at school, you don't start treating them like they're convicts in prison. Trust and respect work both ways. If you continually tell a kid he (or she) is bad, eventually they will believe it themselves and act accordingly -- creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Same thing happens by the way with minorities: if you tell a black kid and treat him like he's 'bad' his entire life, eventually he's going to give up and be bad because he'll see he just can't win. Kids of any background will react the same way. If you think you have to resort to the equivalent of putting a GPS ankle monitor on a kid then I say you're the one who screwed up, not the kid.」

As an old fart ...

「who was schooled in the 60s, and who doesn't have children of his own, I have to say that that I thank God that I'm not growing up or have kids today. My neighbours had their young grand kids ( 5 and 7 ) to stay for a month on their farm last summer and I was appalled by the stories they told of how parents are forced to raise their children now. They had to teach their grand kids that it was OK ( at the farm ) to just go outside and play in the yard or field whenever they wanted to, without having to ask for permission first. At home, if they were found alone in the park across the street from their home ( even though their mother could see them from her kitchen window ), the police would be called. Kids today are not being taught how to live in a real world, instead they are just being conditioned to live as obedient serfs and not think for themselves. If TPTB ( banksters, elites, globalists, whatever you call them ) haven't bought-stolen everything by the time today's kids reach adulthood, they can just sit back and tell their serfs to give the rest to them :-( .」

Giving them more of what made them sick

「Forced from an early age to follow somebody else's idea of a schedule. Taken away from their families for many hours a day. Not allowed to pursue the things that truly interest and excite them. Forced to learn things which they're not interested in. Taught that knowledge is acquired by being stuffed full of it and then regurgitating it, as opposed to living and learning organically in the real world in real situations. Encouraged to believe that learning is hard, and that there is only one right way and only one approved opportunity to study any given subject or discipline. Actively prevented from learning what they might learn easily and enthusiastically, because 'that's not what we're studying right now'. Discouraged from being individuals, from being 'different'. In some cases, all of this pounding of square pegs into the approved round holes results in "jerks or (those who) are struggling". In other cases it results 'merely' in people who fall far short of the potential they were born with. So what's the proposal for 'fixing' these students? Why, of course, the answer must be more monitoring, more hand-holding, more theft of their autonomy, more invasion in their lives - still more prescription, and still more proscription. Do educators and authorities really not get that doing the same shit over and over again and expecting a different result is a symptom of insanity?

I suspect public schooling damages children neurologically. There's a lot of talk about how people's brains don't really mature until they're in their twenties, yet there have been more than a few examples throughout history of people in their early teens starting successful companies, commanding troops in battle and winning, and so forth. What if the public schools' lack of real-world engagement and experience and autonomy starves young brains of the stimulation that would, via neuro-plasticity, mature those brains much sooner? What if the constant thwarting of their every impulse and inclination dulls children and pre-disposes them to apathy and/or anger and/or despair? Just to be clear - yes, I AM theorizing that school might cause brain damage. I'm fairly certain that in many people it causes soul damage. It did in my case.

Anybody who is disgusted and saddened by the Orwellian interventions described in TFA really should read John Taylor Gatto's 'Underground History of American Education'. It totally changed my view of both the efficacy and the purpose of public education as it has been practised during the last century. The book is out of print, but is available in PDF as a free download - check it out via your favourite search engine.」