Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Schools monitoring student blogging

Schools are beginning to look at the website/blogging habits of their teenage students.
In recent weeks, several Washington area schools have taken action against the use of blog sites, in particular but also the sites and, which allow teenagers -- and sometimes younger children -- to post details of their lives for all to see.

Sidwell Friends School in the District recently prohibited students from using their school e-mail addresses to register for access to Facebook, a widely used networking site for college and high school students. Before the holidays, Sidwell, Georgetown Day School in the District and the Madeira School in McLean wrote to parents to warn them about use of the site, and the Barrie School, in Silver Spring, recently asked a student to leave over the misuse of a blog.

Exclusive private schools such as these have so far been more aggressive than public schools in specifically targeting the use of blogs, but local public schools have begun to warn parents and students about the dangers of Internet use. Fairfax County will hold seminars on the subject for parents this week, and Arlington County, at the suggestion of a parent who is a computer safety consultant, plans a similar meeting next week. (WaPo)

This would be funny if it wasn't tragic:

Ironically, many teenagers are outraged or embarrassed when parents or other adults go to their sites. "I think they see it as a violation of their personal space," said Madeira's Cole. "They feel as if their diaries are being read."

It's not like a diary that they can keep under lock and key, or in a secure place. These students are using the internet - if they can go to a specific site, so can anyone else. Sexual predators can easily get on-line to entice someone into a physical meeting. Sites aren't visited by just the nice people.

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