A screenshot from Snaptrends' monitoring screen, which allows users to see where tweets have come from even if they aren't tagged with location data / Snaptrends

Snaptrends lets customers watch popular social media sites and monitor what users are saying

US schools have bought access to sophisticated social media monitoring tools that will let them spy on students’ use of the internet.

The Orange County school district in Florida says that it will be able to use the monitoring software to respond quickly to instances of cyberbullying, crime and suicide.

The district has bought a license for Snaptrends, software that monitors Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Snaptrends’ website claims that the software can gather information from social media in a location-aware way, helping people see what is being talked about in a specific place or looking for particular keywords.

The schools will use the tools “to proactively prevent, intervene and (watch) situations that may impact students and staff”, according to local news site Click Orlando.

School officials are aware that the monitoring could raise privacy concerns, according to reports. But they say that the tools will help protect children, as well as helping gather information for law enforcement.