Posts Tagged ‘MySpace’

Monitoring Children’s Social Networking Activities Proving too Difficult for Parents

March 20, 2013


It is very easy to advise a parent to take an active interest in their children’s online activities. It is much harder to put that advice into action:

After Friendster came MySpace. By the time Facebook dominated social media, parents had joined the party, too.

But the online scene has changed – dramatically, as it turns out – and these days even if you’re friends with your own kids on Facebook, it doesn’t mean you know what they’re doing.

Thousands of software programs now offer cool new ways to chat and swap pictures. The most popular apps turn a hum-drum snapshot into artistic photography or broadcast your location to friends in case they want to meet you.

Kids who use them don’t need a credit card or even a cellphone, just an Internet connection and device such as an iPod Touch or Kindle Fire.

Parents who want to keep up with the curve should stop thinking in terms of imposing time limits or banning social media services, which are stopgap measures.

Experts say it’s time to talk frankly to kids about privacy controls and remind them – again – how nothing in cyberspace every really goes away, even when software companies promise it does.

‘What sex education used to be, it’s now the “technology talk” we have to have with our kids,’ said Rebecca Levey, a mother of 10-year-old twin daughters who runs a tween video review site called and blogs about technology and educations issues.

More than three-fourths of teenagers have a cellphone and use online social networking sites such as Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

But Facebook for teens has become a bit like a school-sanctioned prom – a rite of passage with plenty of adult chaperones – while newer apps such as Snapchat and Kik Messenger are the much cooler after-party.

Even Facebook acknowledged in a recent regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was losing younger users: ‘We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook,’ the company warned investors in February.

Educators say they have seen kids using their mobile devices to circulate videos of school drug searches to students sending nude images to girlfriends or boyfriends. Most parents, they say, have no idea.

Huge Setback for the Fight Against Cyberbullying

January 19, 2012

Today is a disappointing day for all Americans (and the vast majority don’t know it). The Supreme Court’s decision not to overturn a previous decision which found in favour of students who harassed and slandered two Principals on the grounds that the school did not have the authority to punish them for deeds committed outside of the school gates.

The court let stand the suspension of a West Virginia high school’s “Queen of Charm,” who created a Web page that suggested another student had a sexually transmitted disease, and invited classmates to comment.

The court also left alone rulings that said schools could not discipline two Pennsylvania students for MySpace parodies of their principals that the students created at home. An appeals court, following 40-year-old case law on student speech, said the posts did not create substantial disruptions at school.

Lawyers on both sides were disappointed that it will be at least another year before the high court wades into the issue. Federal judges have issued a broad range of opinions on the subject.

“We’ve missed an opportunity to really clarify for school districts what their responsibility and authority is,” said Francisco Negron, general counsel of the National School Boards Association. “This is one of those cases where the law is simply lagging behind the times.”

This is a bitter blow for American society. Cyber bullying is a significant problem. It is my opinion that schools should most certainly get involved when its students are bullying each other (irrespective of where they are when they do it). By working with the parents, schools can play a vital role in deterring  bullies from victimising others online.

I am very saddened to read that the Supreme Court is of the opinion that when a child call their Principals names like a “big fag”, “whore”, “hairy sex addict” and “pervert”,  their posts do “not create substantial disruptions at school.” Really? I would have thought it would certainly undermine the authority of the Principal. And should she/he is unable to take any action, it sets an awful message that you can get away with saying anything online.

Is this progress? I think not!

Students Using the First Amendment to Slander Their Principals

January 15, 2012

I am a big believer in free speech. I consider myself very lucky to be in a country where my thoughts and feelings can be expressed freely without recriminations. But like all other laws and freedoms there are boundaries. I might have free speech, but I am also restricted by sensible limitations to what I can say.

When students use social media to call their Principals names like a “big fag”, “whore”, “hairy sex addict” and “pervert”, and the consequence for their actions is nothing more than a suspension, I think they should count themselves very lucky. To then sue on the grounds of freedom of speech and win says a lot about the judicial system and the difficulties educators face in earning basic respect.

A middle school principal in northeastern Pennsylvania was shocked to see his photo online along with a description of him as a “hairy sex addict” and a “pervert” who liked “hitting on students” in his office.

A high school principal north of Pittsburgh saw a MySpace profile of himself that called him a “big fag,” a “whore” and a drug user. And in West Virginia, a school principal found out that a girl had created an online site to maliciously mock another girl as a “slut” with herpes.

All three students were suspended from school and filed suits against the principal and the school districts. They argued the 1st Amendment protected them from being punished for postings from their home computers. And in the two Pennsylvania cases, they won.

Whilst these awful slurs may technically be classified as “free speech”, verbal bullying of any kind can also be defended under the guise of free speech. Is this what we want? People supported by the courts to demoralise, slur and denigrate others? How are principals supposed to tackle bullying when they can’t even deal with bullies who are attacking them?

The exploitation of free speech will see bullying, especially cyber bullying, continue to gain momentum. These students should never have been suspended. They should have been expelled!

Police Want Parents to Spy on Their Kids Online

May 29, 2011

So bad is the problem of stalking paedophiles preying on children, that Police are advising parents to spy on their kids’ online activities.  In a perfect world parents should resist spying on their kids, as their trust is essential for a close relationship.  However, there are exceptions to this rule.  The rise of evil paedophiles who prey on naive and impressionable children, may present parents with little choice.

Parents should keep a regular and close eye on what their children do online, say Scottish police, especially on who they are chatting to.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) is concerned about the growing threat of grooming and the dangers of paedophilia. The Scotsman reports that since Operation Embark was set up to tackle the problem two years ago, 18 people have been convicted of online grooming and sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, 23 years of probation, and 840 hours of community service.

Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane, who heads the SCDEA’s e-crime unit, said: “There’s various software to assist parents in helping them keep their children safe on the internet, which can help identify their computer history.

“You can set your governance tools to search for key words, so if there’s been sexually explicit behaviour from a 13 or 14-year-old it would pick up on that. You can apply parental controls on the internet in the same way as you can on digital TV channels, blocking unsuitable websites.”

Police say parents should be informal friends on Facebook and other social networks, so that they are in the loop of conversations that their kids are having.

Parents should also educate themselves about the social networks their kids are using – how they work, what functionality they offer and how often they are being used.

Social networks do not only mean Facebook – children can correspond with strangers on Bebo, YouTube, gaming networks, Twitter, MySpace and forums, as well as chat services like MSN Messenger, Skype, AOL Chat and Google Talk.

Parents: Please share this video with your children.  I have posted it before, but the clip’s importance and its powerful message will see me post it on occasion.

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