Opinion: GoGuardian Is Invasive


Teachers use the software in order to make sure that students are on task and not cheating on exams. Photo courtesy of: GoGuardian

GoGuardian is a software that helps teachers monitor students and filter what they are on while using their Chromebooks. It is used by administrators and teachers to help students stay focused on their classwork and schoolwork. 

The best way to describe GoGuardian is that it is a software that allows teachers to look at exactly what’s on a student’s screen. 

With online classes, it is being used more often to monitor what a student is doing. The software is sort of strange because at any moment your teacher could be watching exactly what you are doing. Though, it is unclear whether teachers are unable to watch you through your camera or access microphones.

When teachers use GoGuardian they do it with the intention of helping students stay focused, but when using it, it feels as if there isn’t trust between them and their students. It feels controlling and makes being watched more “normal” and accepted by students. 

Teachers are also allowed to check the browsing history of students. Another product, GoGuardian Beacon, helps identify searches about self-harm, cyberbullying, and more. Though there are good intentions behind this product, I feel like it is just more intrusive. A student may turn to their Chromebook for personal reasons and search for private information that is now being shared with parents and administrators. 

“The moral dilemma that bothers me here is that, although I agree that trust must be earned, teachers invading the privacy of their students will not only result in them seeing things that have nothing to do with the class, but they will likely see things that will also change how they see their students, which will lead to unjust conclusions being drawn which is simply unfair to the student,” says Sebastian Arellano (12).

As for cyberbullying, school-issued Chromebooks do not allow students to go on social media. I think as high school students, we know better than to do that type of activity on a school Chromebook. Because yes, cyberbullying still exists, and it won’t be done on a device where the school monitors us. 

In my opinion, enabling GoGuardian feels uncomfortable on the students’ end. Using this software, especially on computers that may be someone’s only device, is frankly concerning and feels as if they are doing something wrong. A computer is someone’s lifeline these days, and I don’t think it’s wrong for a student to want distractions during a pandemic. 

When people discover that social media does the same thing and watch what you are doing, there is an uproar, but there seems to be no real concern around doing this to students. 

Arellano continues, “The ethical issue here is, what reason does anyone have to be that aware of what someone does online? If the person in question has a past history with the law, then yeah, some supervision and moderation are definitely fair. But why should someone who has always walked the line be treated the same?”