Navigating the Dangerous Waters the Internet Provides

I think I can say without hesitation and with complete confidence that we all want the best for our children. And that means we want them to be safe both physically and emotionally. While the topic of anonymity is not new, it has been taken to an entirely new level and parents should be prepared.

There is a new danger on the Internet. It seems like every week a new concept emerges and we are forced to think twice about how to properly safeguard our children. Formspring has definitely sprung and it is loaded for bear. It is a scary, vile vehicle that teens use to anonymously destroy their friends. Read this article and then come back to this blog and join the conversation. Rachel Simmons is the author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, a brilliant and sensitive book about raising girls with confidence. If you have not read it, please consider it.

I hope you can spend a few moments reading the article I linked above and learn more about Formspring. Below are a few thoughts to help you wrap your minds around the social lives our children are leading:

1) It is all too easy for children to attack one another socially in school. Why are we allowing it to become easier and now anonymously?

2) Every child enters school each day with the same great fear: embarrassment. Formspring ensures that each account owner will be embarrassed every day. I cannot think of anything worse for our children to endure each day. They have enough to worry about without the fear of being ridiculed anonymously by their peers.

3) Allowing children to send anonymous, hurtful messages condemns them to a world where they do not have to take responsibility for their own words. Through Formspring children can cowardly hide behind the computer screen and believe that their actions do not have consequences. As adults and educators, we know the opposite is true.

4) There have been too many teen suicides in the news recently to ignore it and believe that this is not a concern. As parents we need to educate our children about the damage that can be done by not choosing our words carefully or using them to hurt others.

Lastly, I love this quote regarding Formspring from the Simmons article above. “There is zero, and I mean zero, value in this website and no girl or boy should spend a minute on it. Formspring creates unnecessary emotional risks. It legitimizes cybercruelty and divorces kids from responsibility for their words. You can pretty much file Formspring along with wouldn’t-it-be-fun-to-stand-on the-railroad-tracks-and-jump-right-before-the-train-comes and I’m-sure-no-one-will-notice-if-I-just-pocket-this-one-mascara.”

Below is an informal video of Rachel Simmons informing us all of a few reasons why we should teach our children about the dangers of Formspring.

About these ads

About Chris Pryor

Chris is a visionary and proven executive leader, developing programs, building teams and strategizing change. www.thegowangroup.com
This entry was posted in Formspring, Leadership, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Navigating the Dangerous Waters the Internet Provides

  1. Biz says:

    I applaud Rachel Simmons for her inspiring and fiesty crusade against an absolutely appalling/frightening/disheartening website that we as concerned parents and educators need to put an end to! Don’t kids have it bad enough already with all they are up against these days? Good grief. Let’s win this battle and spread the word about derailing Form as in Formless and Heartless Spring.

    • Chris Pryor says:

      Biz, have you read her book, Odd Girl Out? Very good. She is a positive and dynamic role model for girls of all ages and spreads the message about leadership for young women. Thanks for the comment!

      • Biz says:

        Wild- I just got this comment from you- quite old but I wrote the book title down, nevertheless. Hard to keep up with all the books I want to read!! I subscribed to edupress for a ‘great life’ and was delighted to find the Wheel associated with– are you still going to write here or not so much? Is it just education? Happy week, CP!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s