1. says

    I think a lot of parents fall into 2 categories of intentional, blissful ignorance:

    1. Thinking most people are probably good.
    Thinking this way is the same thing that makes people say, “I never thought it could happen to me”. They impose their own morals onto the rest of the world without knowing they are doing it and think generally (despite the news on the contrary) people are good and while there are a lot of weirdos out there, my kid wont be a target.

    2. Not knowing anything about technology.
    A lot of parents just accept that their kids know more about the internet and technology in general than they do and do not work to educate themselves as vigorously as they possibly should.

    Both of these are dangerous traps for parents to fall into. If it helps, we put out a video series on social networking for parents that we’re working on finishing up now to help educate parents and help them monitor their kids online activity to keep them safe. Let us know in the comments if there is any other information that would help you in keeping your kids safe.

  2. says

    Like anything else parental supervision, monitoring as well as simply ‘checking in’ at times is a must. Since middle school students are starting to separate themselves from their parents it is vital that we be able to ‘connect’ with them while maintaining our role as parents. We need to make the time to talk about the people that they choose to associate with. If course, by now we have hopefully done our job as parents in helping to form their values early on in making good choices for friends as well. This issue should therefore be handled on a case by case basis.

  3. tinuke aiyepeku says

    I belive that parents should have a look at their children,s facebook,when they are on the networks. And that the children should not have access to their computers during school session,only on holidays;inorder to know who there are chating with.
    I think bannning the child from facebook will not be a good idea,cause some kids learn and interacts well with other friends, while some don,t.By teaching our kids the values of expressing themselves correctly and appropriately in the open world;order is our job as adult, parents and teachers.We should find a way out of stopping the bullying and bread an antibullying.

  4. Teresa says

    I am glad to see that most people in the poll consider this a parent’s decision. I am a curriculum coordinator in an elementary school and I am bothered by the number of children in grades 2 – 6 who are on facebook. Not so much because they are simply there, but because I wonder if their parents are monitoring their child’s interactions. Are the parents aware of the dangers that exist in cyberspace?
    I can honestly say that I was not – until recently – and I am sure that I still have a lot to learn.
    My other concern is the amount of “grandstanding” that might be going on. On facebook, children have posted a status to make themselves sound cool or to pretend to be doing things they are not really doing, and they do not realize the implications of these statement. They have no understanding of the digital “record” they are creating about themselves and the negative repercussions these playful, silly, trying to be part of the in-crowd comments might someday have on their educational or career goals.
    I agree that parents should make this decision. But parents need to be making an INFORMED decision and need to make sure they become experts on the ways to monitor and regulate their child’s online behavior. To the extent that parents are held responsible for their child’s behavior in the real world, they should be held responsible online.
    An excellent resource for parents regarding this topic is

  5. Mark says

    Good discussion, and I think Brooke was wonderfully eloquent. We have two middle schoolers who do have Facebook accounts.
    There is one thing I would like to add, as I don�t see it addressed here � where are your kids using Facebook? I see posts (and know a lot of parents who say) �I have my kids password and I can check their account any time� but where are the parents while their kids are on line? Our computer is in the living room; it is a laptop, but that is where it will stay. It is in the highest traffic area of the house, and it is rare that someone is there alone in the evenings. Our kids know that we have the right to observe them on Facebook (or whatever they are doing on line) at any time, and we do.
    One other thing of note in our household; not only are we our kids friends on Facebook, but so are a number of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and adult family friends – even our hip, young youth director at church – who all have an eye on what our kids are doing. Our kids are very close to their cousins, who are all college age, and the cousins are great about posting notes of encouragement and congratulations about school achievements, or just joining in on something. On a few occasions, they have even mentioned something about a post from someone they didn�t think was quite appropriate, which I think carried more weight than coming from mom or dad.
    In today�s cyber-world, it does take a cyber-village.

  6. Nicolette says

    I helped my middle schooler set up a facebook account when he changed schools and was worried about losing touch with his friends. Of course, I require that I be one of his friends, and I had the talk about what kind of stuff you put on your page and never “friending” somebody you do not know. People bully in person in school all the time–it may be harder to prove, because there are not printable transcripts, but bullying happens everywhere.

  7. Lily says

    I think parents should take responsible for their own child, decide if they should allow them to go on facebook. However, I would think the school shouldn’t allow the students to go on facebook during school time. What do you think ?

  8. mon says

    It’ll be unfair if we ban their social activities. But we need to be on guard and guide them. We need to explain them why we do like this and what we care.

  9. Vicki says

    Facebook. What a waste of time. But then I grew up in the 60s. If you wanted to socialize, you learned to behave in a manner that would invite friendships. If you were a jerk, your friend went on to play with someone else.
    Are our kids learning social skills in this cyber environment? I don’t think so. I think it is robbing them of genuine ways of relating to others. Too, I think it’s too easy to abandon civil behavior when you are anonymous.
    Would I ban a child from Facebook? Probably not. But if I still had kids at home, I’d tell them to finish homework, go ride their bikes (with firends), work on a fort in the backyard (with friends), take the dog for a walk, do a few chores…. And then if they want to waste time….

  10. Sandra Taylor says

    As a parent and an educator of young children, I have encountered bullying in many areas. It is a definite problem that must be dealt with. There are many aspects and avenues to the bullying process, and cyberbullying is fast becoming a major problem. However, it cannot be stopped by denying children access to social networking. I agree with Ms. Petrucelli in the fact that a ban on these networks will only encourage children to access them without parental knowledge. I have a fourteen year old child who has a social page. He was allowed to set up that account only after I first set up my own account AND required that I become his first “friend”. In addition, I know his password and will access his account at any given time to check posts and messages he receives. This network allows him to stay in touch with friends from other schools that have the same interests and allows me to stay informed of who he is chatting with. Let me add that I also have a ten year old that does not have a social page, and will not until he is at least 13 and shows the maturity needed to handle such a responsibility. Parents must wake up and take control of their children. I am all for self expression and allowing children to take responsibility for their actions; however, as a parent, I also realize they are my responsibility and therefore I should be held accountable for anything they do to harm themselves and others. Parents cannot turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the negative things their children are involved in. But, there are many adults who are teaching their children to bully and calling it “standing up for yourself”. These are the bullies we should be worried about.

  11. Rhonda says

    All children are not created equal, therefore parents should be resposible for deciding if their child is mature enough to be on facebook. It is a great place for children to gain important social skills, however, parents should closely monitor all conversations. If anything inappropriate is transpiring, parents need to be quick to jump in to teach their child how to appropriately handle the situation.

  12. Brooke Petrucelli says

    I think the second you ban something that is so popular, kids will do anything to get to it. It is much better if we as adults, teachers, and parents, to be involved. As a technology teacher, I do my best to teach my elementary kids what is okay to say on the internet and what is not, and to point out what to do if they run into bullying or something inappropriate. As a parent of 3 girls – there is a grade requirement at my house – they must be at middle school to have a Facebook account and they must ‘friend’ me and my husband. We try to keep Facebook usage as an open topic so the kids will tell us what is happening. And in no way do I think this is 100% effective but if there was a ban – kids will use it behind our backs and won’t come to us with problems.
    My oldest daughter has had to deal with a classmate who committed suicide – from the surface, it did look like there was some online bullying but there were also serious underlying issues with the classmate. The aftermath was an incredible outpouring of support for that student’s family and memory of their lost friend formed from a community created in Facebook. Honestly – some of the posts looked like Jane Austen had written them. Community, self-expression, communication – oh and the social benefits of Facebook are valuable.
    Teaching our kids the value of expressing themselves correctly and appropriately in the new open world order is our job. Instead of banning the possibilities, we should use Facebook as an opportunity to teach a culture of acceptance. I do not mean to gloss over the whole cyberbullying issue – but I do believe we as adults can breed an antibullying culture if we stopped the bullying rhetoric ourselves.