Facebook or Safebook

      Last year, I read a very sad story of a school girl who committed suicide because of cyber bullying. As soon as I read the news, I posted it to my facebook wall so that more parents could learn about this and take precautions for their children. I’ve read a couple of posts on the use of facebook and other social networks to teach English. But, I’ve great fears about that. According to Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA), children (under 13) aren’t allowed to create an account on web sites without verified parental permission. If you know  any information about a child under age 13 on facebook, please contact facebook through this help page and report an underage child! You also need to get parental consent to publish children’s personal information on the internet. “A study last year found that one in four U.K. Internet users aged 8 to 12 had profiles on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace.” (forbes.com) I guess it’s more in Turkey. I think we can’t and shouldn’t  keep our kids away from internet. When I was searching for a safe harbour for kids, I heard reputation of one on Wall Street Journal and New York Times. That “safebook” is Togetherville. It has been approved and authorized  as a safe tool according to COPPA and it’s been validated by eTrust and Connectsafely. To your attention! Bülent

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      evab2001's picture
      Submitted on 12 February, 2011 - 16:42

      Thanks Bülent for choosing this topic.
      This is such an important issue but most of us don't know how to deal with it.

      CoffeeAddict's picture
      Submitted on 12 February, 2011 - 18:14

      Dear seabiscuit,
      As you know, I am also concerned with these issues. Your comments on my blog post called "Safer Children in a Digital world" were very nice and thoughtful. What makes this an especially "hot topic" for me is that I have a 12 year old son. I do not allow him a Facebook account, but I feel bad for it because I think he is probably the only student in his class who doesn't have one. I could recommend Togetherville to him but I am certain he wouldn't be interested. He wants to "be" where his friends are. When he turns 13, we will let him use Facebook. I will friend him and try to watch over him as much as I can in that way. I will (and also have) spoken with him at length about e-safety. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope for the best.
      Have a safe evening
      :-) CoffeeAddict

      merveoflaz's picture
      Submitted on 12 February, 2011 - 19:07

      Dear Bulent,
      Thank you for mentioning about such an important issue. I always see the parents complaining about their kids wasting time on the internet but there is more behind it. I think we should also take their attention on the safety issue and help them to be aware.

      Survival Guide's picture
      Survival Guide
      Submitted on 13 February, 2011 - 10:55

      In Turkey many parents give their children computeRs and do nothing after that. No guidence! We should give more importance to our youth. As far as I remember last year one teenager killed a cat and took its photographs and shared it with her friends.  I felt perplexed when I read this news. Beside parents as a teacher we need to guide them also. 

      solmaz21's picture
      Submitted on 13 February, 2011 - 11:54

      Quite sad, Bülent. I had heard about the story before. I really don't know how we can solve the problem but I know some secondary school teachers who are 'friends' with their students on Facebook or MSN messenger. One of my colleagues told that students 'begged' her to add her as a friend on Facebook. Tough, tough!
      Thanks for the post Bülent! I liked the title much.

      seabiscuit's picture
      Submitted on 13 February, 2011 - 22:56

      Hi CoffeeAddict,
      In fact, Togetherville uses your facebook acount and you sign in with your facebook account. If you explore it, you'll learn more about it.

      seabiscuit's picture
      Submitted on 13 February, 2011 - 22:59

      Hi Eva,
      It's really an important issue. If facebook were a country, it'd be the 3rd largest country in the world. But, I don't think it's a safe harbour for kids. Togetherville is a great alternative for kids.

      seabiscuit's picture
      Submitted on 13 February, 2011 - 23:07

      Hi Merve,
      I think safety must be our priority. Kids spend a lot of time on the internet and we should know what they are doing. Facebook is very useful for adults. They can keep contact with people and learn a lot by using facebook. They can protect themselves from unwanted dangers. But, kids can't do it. Responsible parenting and teaching can solve such problems.

      seabiscuit's picture
      Submitted on 14 February, 2011 - 23:17

      Hi Ayşe,
      I agree with you. Parents may be ignorant. But we can take initiative. We should do our best to minimize the problems. Thanks for the comment.

      seabiscuit's picture
      Submitted on 14 February, 2011 - 23:22

      Hi Osman,
      In fact, we can't solve the problem. Cause, we don't have a magic wand. But, we can minimize it. If everybody takes initiative, I think we can minimize such problems. Thanks for the comment.