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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
A lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Minnesota has sparked a debate over whether schools can demand to know a child’s Facebook password to investigate allegations of bullying or inappropriate language. MSNBC.com reports on the case, which involves a 12-year-old middle school girl who has not been named in the lawsuit:
According to the ACLU’s version of events, the girl had moved and entered a new school as a 6th-grade student in the fall of 2010. In early 2011, she felt targeted by a school monitor and posted an update to her friends-only Facebook wall saying she “hated” the monitor because “she was mean to me,” using her own computer and while off campus.
Soon after, she was called into the principal’s office — he had obtained a screen shot of the post — and given detention.
The student subsequently posted another update to her page related to the incident: “I want to know who the f%$# told on me,” the complaint says. Again, she was called to the principal’s office, and this time was suspended for “insubordination” and banned from a class ski trip.
In March, the student had a second run-in with school authorities. The parent of another student had complained that the girl was talking about sex with that student. The 12-year-old was called out of class by a school counselor and eventually brought into a room with several school officials and the sheriff’s deputy, where the password demands began.
The ACLU claims that the school never asked the girl’s parents for permission to examine her private Facebook space. The school district doesn’t dispute that it obtained the girl’s password, but does say it had parental permission.
Image: Keyboard, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Chances are you’ve seen the YouTube video of Tommy Jordan, the North Carolina dad who shot his teenage daughter’s laptop. Viewed more than 22 million times in one week, the video has sparked passionate debate across the Internet.
Jordan’s 15-year-old daughter posted an angry, hurtful rant on Facebook about having too many chores, and Jordan—who’d spent hours the previous day updating her laptop—was furious that this was how she was using it. “Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father,” he says at the start of the video. He reads his daughter’s post to the camera and then shoots her laptop eight times.
Comments on YouTube are split: Many say Jordan’s reaction is too extreme or criticize his use of a gun. But many others praise his tough-love approach with comments like “Give this man a medal” and “Tommy Jordan for President.” On Time.com, columnist Susanna Schrobsdorff notes that many parents of teenagers dream of doing what Jordan did:
It is both disturbing and so deeply satisfying that you can’t watch it without reliving every fantasy you’ve ever had about hurling one of your teen’s gadgets out a window or under a car after they’ve used it to ignore you or deceive you, or distract themselves from something they’re supposed to do.
KJ Dell’Antonia of the New York Times Motherlode blog writes that “Mr. Jordan acted childishly,” but she says she’s felt his anger: [I]f you’ve grounded a kid in anger, or yanked an arm or felt an ugly expression on your face and heard a tone in your voice that you’ve never used with anyone other than your beloved child, you know what I mean. Our children infuriate us like no one else.”
Jordan hasn’t spoken to reporters, but he has posted comments on his Facebook page. (He says child protective services did pay him a visit, and found his guns stored securely.) He also mentioned lessons he and his daughter have drawn from the experience. From the Los Angeles Times:
“We’ve always told her that what you put online can effect you forever,” [Jordan] said. “She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the Internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.”
Readers, what’s your take on the laptop-shooting dad?
Image: Tommy Jordan screenshot via the Los Angeles Times.
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Friday, February 10th, 2012
Breastfeeding moms staged nurse-ins at Facebook headquarters this week, protesting the networking site’s practice of removing photos of women nursing their children.
The Huffington Post reports the protest was launched by Emma Kwasnica, a Vancouver, Canada mother and breastfeeding advocate who has posted more than 200 photos of herself nursing her children and says her account has been suspended repeatedly for violating the site’s no-nudity policy.
About 60 protesters gathered in front of Facebook’s Menlo Park offices on Monday, and similar protests were planned in New York; Toronto; Austin, Texas; Seattle; London; Paris; Amsterdam; Madrid; Singapore; Dublin, Ireland; and Sydney. Protesters say they want to make the point that breastfeeding isn’t obscene.
The San Francisco Chronicle offered more details:
Facebook officials said that breastfeeding photos are taken down only when they are flagged as inappropriate and that sometimes errors happen.
But protesters called on the social-networking giant to better train employees to recognize legitimate photos and to institute a better way to contact the company when an error is made, especially one that causes a member’s account to be suspended.
“There’s no excuse for anyone to be harassed for breastfeeding,” said Jodine Chase, who was among about 60 protesters who helped organize the nurse-in outside Facebook headquarters. “We want Facebook to leave breastfeeding alone.”
Earlier this year, Facebook issued a statement about its policies to the Huffington Post:
“The vast majority of breastfeeding photos are compliant with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook takes no action on such content. However, photos which contain a fully exposed breast, do violate our terms and may be removed if they are reported to us. These policies are based on the same standards that apply to television and print media. It is important to note that photos upon which we act are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain about them being shared on Facebook.”
Readers, share your thoughts: Do photos of breastfeeding belong on Facebook?
Image: via The Huffington Post.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2012
A number of social networking sites, including Facebook and the comedy website Funny or Die, have come under fire for taking down photos or videos of women breastfeeding, citing the “obscenity” clauses in the sites’ terms of service as justification.
The New York Times has more:
In recent weeks social networks like Facebook have come under fire for deleting pictures that show children breast-feeding and for closing accounts of the mothers who posted the photos. In some of these cases the mothers were told they had violated the site’s terms of service by publishing sexual or obscene material. A separate online campaign has urged the children’s television series “Sesame Street” to show more images of breast-feeding.
Funny or Die, which is directed at an 18-and-over audience, often posts R-rated movie trailers and other bawdy content. But it does not appear to have a strict no-nudity policy: bare breasts can be seen in blooper videos on the site, and in the short “Jon Benjamin’s Ultimate Trick Shot Video” the camera frequently lingers on the genitals of a naked man.
Image: Breastfeeding mom, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, October 7th, 2011
A new study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine finds that college students who post Facebook photos of themselves in heavy drinking situations, or who make frequent references to drinking in their Facebook postings are more likely to have actual drinking problems. The study concludes that clinicians (and parents) can apply “problem drinking” criteria when looking at a young person’s Facebook posts.
The students who were studied, whose average age was 18.8, scored 64 percent higher on the AUDIT scale, a clinical scale used to measure disordered alcohol use, if they displayed drinking photos or posts on Facebook. Those students were also more likely to have had an alcohol-related injury in the past year.
Researchers say that 1,700 alcohol-related deaths occur on college campuses each year. The study’s authors urge colleges to screen for alcohol abuse students who reference drinking on Facebook, which may raise privacy concerns for many.
(image via: http://thedailyrecord.com/)
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