Reacting to rampant cyber bullying at this school and based on a belief that adolescents lack the maturity to make proper use of social networking tools, Bergen County, New Jersey middle school principal circulated a letter to the parents of the 700 students at Benjamin Franklin Middle school requesting that they prohibit their children from using facebook, formspring, and every other online social network which provides opportunity for students to hurl insults and exchange graphic images. The principal also recommends specific steps parents can take to closely monitor all web and cellphone use to insure compliance with this ban and avoid being deceived by their children.
The text of the letter shared with parents:
Dear BF Community,
In 2002 when I arrived in Ridgewood Facebook did not exist, Youtube did not exist, and MySpace was barely in existence. Formspring (one of the newest internet scourges, a site meant simply to post cruel things about people anonymously) wasn’t even in someone’s mind.
In 2010 social networking sites have now become commonplace, and technology use by students is beyond prevalent.
It is time for every single member of the BF Community to take a stand!
There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!
Let me repeat that - there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site! None.
5 of the last 8 parents who we have informed that their child was posting inappropriate things on Facebook said their child did not have an account. Every single one of the students had an account.
3 Students yesterday told a guidance counselor that their parents told them to close their accounts when the parents learned they had an account. All three students told their parents it was closed. All three students still had an account after telling their parents it was closed.
Most students are part of more than one social networking site.
Please do the following: sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site. Today!