Yes, this is what a principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J, Mr. Anthony Orsini said to the questions asked to him on an interview with a news channel. He very frankly opposed the use of any famous social networking portals like Facebook, MySpace, etc. He asked parents to check on their children and requested them to please avoid their children getting registered on social networking Websites.
He went to the extent of e-mailing all the parents in which he wrote that social networking sites are unjustifiably wicked. He requested parents to sit with their children and talk things out and explain them that they are not allowed to use social networking sites. He said that it is for their benefit itself. He went to the extent that he didn’t spare even online games. He said kids can play online games but without interactive devices. If they want to play online games with people present at different places geographically, they can very well play but there is no need to talk to them, thus he asked parents to take away the interactive gadgets like speakers and microphone, etc. He also advised parents to install parental control software applications in their kids’ computers and check them once a week.
Now, it might sound harsh and shocking to a few people who don’t share similar views with the principal, but for people who think similar to the principal might presume that it is perfectly all right to implement all what he said. There have been several such discussions in the past on this topic which couldn’t lead to a common consensus and the question still persists today that whether kids using social networking sites is appropriate or not and both the sides have thousands of arguments and answers to this statement.
There are people who simply disagree with the idea of isolating children from Websites like Facebook, MySpace, etc and find the statement ridiculous. They state that there is nothing wrong offered by these websites and there is no such content on them which only adults can access and not kids. As a matter of the fact they believe that children will learn a lot from them and it will help them grow as a human being who can handle his relations. They feel it is sheer discrimination against children to stop them from using these sites. In fact they feel if you stop them from using it, they will in turn be tempted to do so and will lead them to using those websites in secretive or in some other indecent manner.
Well maybe that’s true, you shouldn’t scold children to stop using Facebook or MySpace or other social networking site but you can explain them the dangers of displaying personal information online and they can be taught the mannerisms and the maturity required while enjoying these sites, in a friendly manner. These sites themselves don’t allow kids below 18 years of age to register, so it is obvious that they might have reasons of their own for not allowing younger ones to access it. It does require a sense of awareness, a sense of adulthood to take care of your details and movements of people around your profile, which certainly children lack.
So, ultimately it is up to the parents themselves as they are the best people who knows how mature and grown up their kid is, to allow their kids to build social network or teach them to build real world relations first and then virtual ones.