If you are not familiar with the application ClassDojo, it is an application that is used by teachers and parents to communicate, share photos of your child and most importantly monitor a student’s behavior using a points system.
This software application is being pushed heavily by schools and teachers around the United States who either don’t understand what it really is other than what it does on the surface or they are playing completely ignorant to the ramifications of such a piece of software that is far more complex than it first appears. ClassDojo, Inc has raised over $65 Million Dollars to date (1), possibly because investors understand the data value of behavioral profile of a child. Here are just a few of the concerns that everyone should have before they consider putting a child on this platform.
Privacy and Security issues
While your child’s personal and psychological information, photos, location and other personal information is being collected, it is being transmitted and stored on a private companies servers (Amazon AWS) that could be exploited by criminals and other data harvesters/robots in order to steal personal information, there is even a chance that pedophiles could get access to photos, location and details. Data breaches are a part of everyday life, so why would you put your children in a position where they have to fight to get their personal information protected in the future. In 2019 the was over 2000 data breaches (2) in data centers around the world and 2020 is no different.
ClassDojo shares information about your child through the ClassDojo App (3) with partners including analytics companies. While ClassDojo claims they don’t sell any of the information used in their products, that doesn’t mean that the partners that do have access to the information are not selling the data or sharing data with their own partners.
Here is what ClassDojo Defines as Student Data (4):
student’s educational record or email, first and last name, home address, telephone number, email address, or other information allowing online contact, discipline records, videos, test results, special education data, juvenile dependency records, grades, evaluations, criminal records, medical records, health records, social security numbers, biometric information, disabilities, socioeconomic information, food purchases, political affiliations, religious information text messages, documents, student identifies, search activity, photos, voice recordings or geolocation information.
To see the alarmingly large list of partners that have access to your child’s personal information you need only look at this list on their website here: https://www.classdojo.com/third-party-service-providers/
Turning the class in to one big points game
Children like to compete in games which is fine in person, but when you put the kids in an online situation it can create an environment of anxiety, and on the extreme end favoritism and cyber bullying.
The point system is dangerous and can be used in some really negative situations, as pointed out in the teachingace.com article (5) titled “Thinking About Classroom Dojo – Why Not Just Tase Your Kids Instead?”
Imagine: Ben is sitting at his desk, working on writing. His neighbor pokes him and does an arm pit fart, and both kids laugh. Then the teacher moves both of their points down. ZAP! Kayla is frustrated with her reading, and puts her head down on her desk, and her points go down. ZAP! A whole group of kids are playing at the sink and making soap castles, so the teacher moves the class points down. ZAP, ZAP, ZAP. No doubt some kids straighten up with the zaps. If someone were tasing me, I sure would. But I wouldn’t like that person very much. And I wouldn’t want to go back. And I would spend a whole lot of time thinking about how not to get zapped, rather than my reading, writing, science, and math work. Just don’t zap me again.
Don’t play games with our kids lives, they are there to learn not become chess pieces.
What happens if the company gets brought out?
ClassDojo a private company has 40 employees, so they are most likely waiting for a buyout. If that comes by the way of Google or Facebook, then it is game over for your kids “Student Data” because these companies have no respect for personal data.
In summery if you want to play psychological games with your kids lives, turn your kid into a living walking monitored robot. That will be paranoid about having their lives being monitored then this is the app for you. However, if you love your kids then run.
- ClassDojo, an app to help teachers and parents communicate better, raises $35M (https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/28/classdojo-an-app-to-help-teachers-and-parents-communicate-better-raises-35m/) February 28, 2019.
116 Must-Know Data Breach Statistics for 2020 (Upguard)( https://www.upguard.com/blog/data-breach-statistics) June 4, 2020
- Student Data https://classdojo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004741703#h_63d91d2f-19b7-44bd-8373-649884e75f
- Thinking About Classroom Dojo – Why Not Just Tase Your Kids Instead? http://www.teachingace.com/thinking-about-classroom-dojo-why-not-just-tase-your-kids-instead/