Video: Reason’s Nanny of the Month is …

posted at 6:01 pm on September 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It’s the fourth birthday for Reason TV’s Nanny of the Month, and they have an interesting range of choices today.  Banning paparazzi and curtailing party buses take a back seat (groan) to the latest effort to watch for zero-tolerance violations by students in public schools.  Actually, make that students attending public schools, because the surveillance aims at their activities on line, on their own time:

Nanny of the Month turns four-years-old (!) this month, and our nation’s busybodies show no signs of slowing down. On this very special episode, Nanny features a city that’s determined to take the “party” out of party buses by making them boozeless (police will conduct sting operations to enforce the new ordinance), a new California law–championed by actress and humanitarian Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner–that cracks down on paparazzi who photograph the children of celebrities.

But on this very special episode, the award for nation’s busiest body goes to the official who’s championing the Next Big Thing among surveillance state-loving school administrators–keeping 24/7 tabs on students’ social media activities. The main justification is–what else?–keeping kids safe, and administrators are keeping their eyes peeled for all kinds of possible red flags, including drug use, profanity, bullying, hate speech, sexual harassment, and the use of fake IDs. California’s Glendale Unified School district is monitoring 14,000 students, and the company hired to conduct the snooping expects to be keeping tabs on students in 3,000 schools worldwide by the end of the year.

I’ve always been skeptical of the celebrity-protection law regarding the paparazzi, and not because I’m a fan of celebrity-watching — far from it. The public square is open to everyone, though, and that includes people with cameras. The expansion of this protection to judges, police, and politicians should be even more worrisome.  I don’t doubt that celebrities have a real concern about some of the jerks in the entertainment press corps (and in other segments of the media, too), but that looks very much like a slippery slope that will limit freedom at our expense down the road.

That does tend to pale against the surveillance contemplated by this school district of its students.  One parent says in the video that “as a parent, I’m okay with that” — but as a parent, isn’t watching her children’s Facebook page and other social-media activities her job? The school has to enforce discipline at the school (which extends all the way to bus stops in most jurisdictions), but other than that should stay out of the way and let parents do the parenting.  The “hate speech” surveillance is the most disturbing aspect of this: what qualifies, and who judges? And why is that a problem for the school if it’s not occurring there?  Besides, these days the arguably more prominent danger to kids on social media are school personnel.

Do you agree with Reason’s choice of winner? Take our poll and make your choice:

 


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Ban everything.
Problem solved.

LeftCoastRight on September 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Arrrrrrgh, you suckered me in to taking the poll.

cozmo on September 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Just one banning/regulation away from a perfect socialist utopia.

jukin3 on September 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Celebrities needs for protection from the paparazzi….

Excuse me, why don’t you spend some of that money we pay you through overpriced theatre and concert tickets to hire some effective security – you know, the kind that can keep you away from your “adoring” fans, or use those lawyers you have on retainer for something other than sending us notices about alleged illegal downloading?

Otherwise, if you can’t stand the heat, there’s always that barista job at Starbucks.

Another Drew on September 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

I’m really tired of this “nanny” sh*t. They’re not nannies, they’re tyrants. The libertarians keep using this term.

rrpjr on September 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

BTW, can’t wait until the next school-board election in Glendale – it should prove interesting.

Another Drew on September 30, 2013 at 6:41 PM

It looks like this monitoring software would be good to check up on our teachers and elected officials !! Elected officials starting wit the school board, and continuing to state reps and senators and on to Congress. We should also include top officials, czars and their deputies in the Obama admin. Maybe all the Obama for America staff so we can weed out the trolls.

KenInIL on September 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM

We are well past a 1000 reasons to home school. If you still have your children in Public School then the problem is you not what the schools are doing.

chemman on September 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Another Drew on September 30, 2013 at 6:41 PM

This is California you are talking about. What makes you think they will do anything about.

chemman on September 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM

I’m all for the school district monitoring kids’ online presence. As loco parentis for at least part of the day, the district has an interest in knowing whether kids are using drugs or alcohol on campus, or are bullying other kids through the media.

Most parents are incapable of using computers at the same level of sophistication as their kids. In fact, the LA Times found that the LAUSD lost track of almost 70 iPads they loaned to students, because students discovered how to defeat the position monitoring anti-theft software on the iPads.

Consider this the flip side of Mr. Holloway’s survey of the web for the perps who trashed his house.

Anyone who thinks the school district ought not to be doing what they are doing is in tacit agreement with those parents who said they’d sue Holloway for collecting and making their kids’ pictures public.

unclesmrgol on September 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

This is a direct result of mounting lawsuits for not going after bullies. There is a sea change going on about the bully issue.

John the Libertarian on September 30, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Randomly timed auto-play ads at full volume, that can’t be stopped?

Does Salem not have a professional IT department? Or are they trying to piss run people off?

Looks like it’s time for me to reorder my bookmarks menu.

Damn shame.

soundingboard on October 1, 2013 at 6:46 AM

I’m really tired of this “nanny” sh*t. They’re not nannies, they’re tyrants. The libertarians keep using this term.

rrpjr on September 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

You gotta admit, though… the word “tyrant” these days doesn’t provoke the same visceral reaction as “nanny” does. Sensationalism pwns Semantics, like it or not.

TMOverbeck on October 1, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Anyone who thinks the school district ought not to be doing what they are doing is in tacit agreement with those parents who said they’d sue Holloway for collecting and making their kids’ pictures public.

unclesmrgol on September 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Bullcrap. The school district shouldn’t be doing this because it’s none of their damn business. It is NOT their business to surveil their students – especially outside their limited role during the school day.

Comparing the efforts of the omnipresent totalitarian state to the work of a single aggrieved private individual is ludicrous.

GWB on October 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

soundingboard on October 1, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Take some efforts on your own behalf – the autoplay crap is from the ad company. You can easily find the source url of the ad company and put it into disallowed sites in your browser or firewall. You can also install any of numerous helper apps (like Ad Blocker for Firefox).

GWB on October 1, 2013 at 10:01 AM