Principal asks parents to ban social networks

To stop cyber-bullying, a New Jersey principal is asking parents to ban social networking for their middle schoolers. In an e-mail, Anthony Orsini, principal at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, also asked parents to tell children they’ll be using parental control software to monitor “every place they have visited online, and everything they have instant messaged or written to a friend.”

. . . there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site! None.

The principal also urged parents not to allow students to have a computer in their bedroom, saying more than 90 percent of homework doesn’t require a computer.

Dealing with the emotional fall-out from nasty rumors and gossip spread on social networking sites takes up 75 percent of her day, says Meredith Wearly, the school’s guidance counselor.

The principal urged parents to tell the police and demand an investigation if their child is the victim of online or texted attacks.

So far, response from parents has been positive, Orsini says. Children hate the idea.

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  1. Here’s a courageous example of asking parents to be parents and help their children grow and learn. Congratulations to New Jersey!

  2. Laura Bradley says:

    How about teaching students how to use social networking sites instead of pretending that a ban will keep them from using them at all? The toothpaste is out of the tube… To deny it is to fail to educate them. Social networking is part of media literacy; it’s our duty (as well as their parents’) to give them the skills they need to navigate their digital world successfully.

  3. John HAncock says:

    I find it funny that the terms of service says 13 yet a majority of these kids get their account way before then. Who is in charge here.

  4. Maybe, but banning social networks doesn’t treat the problem.

  5. The problem with this approach is that the request will not be honored by the parents of the children who are causing the problem. The children who might be restricted are the responsible ones with responsible parents.

  6. pauld — yes, but the responsible children won’t be at the mercy of the bullies so much any more.

  7. John Hancock says:

    As I stated earlier. When the terms of service are 13 and a parent makes a choice to ignore that term, they waive rights in my opinion. Wait till they see Formspring. Makes Facebook look safe

  8. Homeschooling Granny says:

    I’m not sure that I know enough to form an opinion but I suspect that these young people are not mature enough to handle social networking that lacks face-to-face reality. I suspect that much that happens does so because the poster cannot see the person they are writing about. There is a public service ad on radio now that makes just this point. It begins as if a teenager just walked into another teenager’s house but then begins a bullying spiel and concludes by saying, “You wouldn’t say this in person; don’t write it.” -or words to that effect.

    It was 50 years ago but I remember as a teenager wrestling with the principle of not talking behind someone’s back.

    Laura, what, exactly, would you teach these young people? Should they learn it before they start social networking, like driver ed before hitting the roads?


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