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Try to monitor my closed Chromebook

Parent access to everything we're doing on our Chromebooks is not only an invasion of privacy, but completely unnecessary.

Photo illustration by Alyson Kuennen

Photo illustration by Alyson Kuennen

The joys of a new school year. The thick air in the classrooms without central cooling, the excitement of finishing sixth hour so you can experience AFT and the peace of mind knowing your parents can view every website you go to on your brand new Chromebook!

My mom was more subdued than I was when she found out about the last one. She forwarded me the district-wide parent e-mail and added her own commentary.

Interesting

Sent from my iPhone

It’s a bad feeling when you find out about a school policy directly affecting you through a forwarded e-mail. It’s even worse when you realize your mom can now see that you spent 43 minutes on Reddit.com during 4th hour.

I get it to a certain extent. I really do. The Chromebooks are district devices that shouldn’t be used to mess around on. Therefore, it makes sense that the district should have the ability to monitor these devices.

But come on. My mom and dad? Getting time-stamps of how long I spend checking my e-mail? That’s where it stops making sense.

I feel quite fortunate that my parents are almost as far from helicopter-y as they can get. I doubt they have the time or interest to check these time-stamps, or block websites, another ability they have (right, parents?).

“Parents don’t need to go there unless they choose to,” said Adam Kurth, Director of Technology and Innovation. “They can choose to unsubscribe.”

However, imagine the kid who has felt pressure since 7th grade to get straight A’s and a 102 percent in each class. This kid is going to now have his parents asking why he spent two hours on an assignment, when it should’ve only taken him thirty minutes. If there’s one thing high school students don’t need, it’s added pressure.

At the least, students should have received some very clear information on their Chromebook rights. Even a simple “hey, beware, your parents can now see every website you visit! So stay off Club Penguin in AP Euro!” would have done the trick.

I guess I’ll just stop complaining and continue using my Chromebook for its best purpose: taking fun photos using the flippable camera.

Happy surfing!

Nina can be reached at [email protected], and you can follow her on Twitter at @ElkadiNina

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About the Writer
Nina Elkadi, Print Editor-in-Chief

Nina Elkadi is a senior at West and a third-year staffer. She is the Print Editor-in-Chief this year and would like to thank Kanye West for helping her get there. She enjoys being outside and on the water, but can also enjoy a nice day inside laughing with her friends.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Try to monitor my closed Chromebook”

  1. Mike Kopf on August 31st, 2017 1:33 pm

    well it is the property of the school district !!

  2. Amy Charles on September 2nd, 2017 11:14 pm

    Hi, Nina. I’m a West parent, and I’m glad you’re raising this issue. I wrote back to Adam as soon as I got that email, too, and here’s what I heard from him; note he’s saying that *ICCSD cannot opt out* of the student-tracking bit that’s part of this service we’re voluntarily buying. Unless, of course, we stop using this service. I’d be very happy to hear more about why we buy a service that apparently refuses to turn off the student-stalking feature. Keep in mind that the point of buying a service is to maintain a federally-required netnanny, but that there is, as far as I know, no similar federal regulation requiring anyone to creep on students.

    From Adam:

    “The parent portal service – which provides email updates on students’ online activities, as well as the ability to access more detailed logs and to modify off-site content filtering settings via the parental control center – is not an optional feature of Securly, and is provide as a basic component of the Securly service. I expect that there is wide variation from parent to parent in terms of how – or if at all – this service will or should be used. As a parent, I personally cannot picture myself checking my child’s web browsing history absent a specific issue or concern, but I know for sure that there are many parents throughout the district for whom family norms and parent-child relationships, among other factors, lead to a more proactive monitoring approach. The district is endorsing no specific approach along this spectrum, but is providing the tools for parents to decide how active they need to be as it relates to their child(ren)’s online activity. I believe that this is a responsible choice, and parents are free to use this service to whatever extent they deem to be appropriate.

    From the district perspective, we do not proactively monitor internet traffic of students or any other users of our network. This has been our practice in the past as it relates to internet access logs in the district firewall, and will continue to be our practice concerning our on-premises firewall as well as the Securly service. We certainly make use of internet access logs when specific issues arise (i.e., cyberbullying incidents), but do not actively seek out problematic behavior or violation of technology use or behavior policies.”

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Try to monitor my closed Chromebook