The Telegraph – Universities to trawl through students’ social media

The Office for Students is to harvest data on students, including by monitoring their social media use, to profile students at risk of self harm and suicide.

Northumbria University is leading the three year project, piloting an “Early Alert Tool” that could be rolled out at all British universities.

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

It is essential for young people’s wellbeing that their privacy is respected but this intrusive approach risks making students feel monitored, anxious and judged.

It strikes us that using social media monitoring and predictive analytics is rather an oppressive approach to safeguarding students’ wellbeing and also sets a dangerous example of the boundaries, privacy and data rights young people should expect in later life.

Students’ safety is of utmost importance and funding may well be needed for better mental health services, but this approach will understandably generate anxiety amongst much of the student population.

Read more in The Telegraph.