Category Archives: Children

Principal Says NO to Social Networks for Kids

I am very happy to tell you about my hero, Anthony Orsini, the principal at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  He recently sent the following email to all parents of children attending his school:

Dear BF Community:
When I arrived in Ridgewood, Facebook did not exist, YouTube did not exist, and MySpace was barely in existence.  Formspring (one of the newest Internet scourges, a site meant simply to post cruel things about people anonymously) wasn’t even in someone’s mind.

In 2010, social networking sites have now become commonplace, and technology use by students is beyond prevalent.

It is time for every single member of the BF community to take a stand!

There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!

Let me repeat that – there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!  None.

5 of the last 8 parents who we have informed that their child was posting inappropriate things on Facebook said their child did not have an account.  Every single one of the students had an account.

3 students yesterday told a guidance counselor that their parents told them to close their accounts when the parents learned they had an account.  All three students told their parents it was closed.  All three students still had an account after telling their parents it was closed.

Most students are part of more than one social networking site.

Please do the following:  sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site.  Today!

Let them know that you will at some point every week be checking their text messages online!   You have the ability to do this through your cell phone provider.

Let them know that you will be installing Parental Control software so you can tell every place they have visited online, and everything they have instant messaged or written to a friend.  Don’t install it behind their back, but install it!

Over 90% of homework does not require the Internet, or even a computer.  Do not allow them to have a computer in their room.  There is no need.

Know that they can text others even if their phone doesn’t have texting capability, either through the computer or through their iPod Touch.

Have a central “docking system,” preferably in your bedroom, where all electronics in the home get charged each night, especially anything with a cell or with wi-fi capability (remember when you were in high school and you would sneak the phone into your bedroom at Midnight to talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend all night – now imagine what they can do with the technology in their rooms).

If your son or daughter is attacked through one of these sites or through texting, immediately go to the police!  Insist that they investigate every situation.  Also, contact the site and report the attack to the site – they have an obligation to suspend accounts, or they are liable for what is written.

We as a school can offer guidance and try to build up any student who has been injured by the social networking scourge, but please insist the authorities get involved.

For online gaming, do not allow them to have the interactive communication devices.  If they want to play Call of Duty online with someone from Seattle, fine.  They don’t need to talk to the person.

The threat to your son or daughter from online adult predators is insignificant compared to the damage that children at this age constantly and repeatedly do to one another through social networking sites or through text and picture messaging.

It is not hyperbole for me to write that the pain caused by social networking sites is beyond significant.  It is psychologically detrimental and we will find out it will have significant long-term effects, as well as all the horrible social effects it already creates.

I will be more than happy to take the blame off you as a parent if it is too difficult to have the students close their accounts, but it is time they all get closed and the texts always get checked.

I want to be clear – this email is not anti-technology, and we will continue to teach responsible technology practices to students.  They are simply not psychologically ready for the damage that one mean person online can cause, and I don’t want any of our students to go through the unnecessary pain that too many of them have already experienced.

Some people advocate that the parents and the school should teach responsible social networking to students because these sites are part of the world in which we live.

I disagree.  It is not worth the risk to your child to allow them the independence at this age to manage these sites on their own, not because they are not good kids or responsible, but because you cannot control the poor actions of anonymous others.

Learn as a family about cyber safety together at www.wiredsafety.org for your own knowledge.  It is a great site.  But then do everything I asked in this email – because there really is no reason a child needs to have one of these accounts.

Please take action in your own home today.

Sincerely,

Anthony Orsini
Principal, BFMS

Now Principal Orsini is MY kind of principal, and my kind of leader in the community.  This should go nationwide. 

The sites have become a tool for children to do psychological harm to each other; it has become a menace to children.  Much of what guidance counselors have to deal with these days regards social networking issues.  It is time for you parents to ACT.

Happy Meals Not So Happy

It appears that McDonald’s “Happy Meal” toys and other promotions that come with high-calorie children’s meals will soon be banned in parts of California, unless the restaurants in question meet certain nutritional guidelines.

In favor of such a ban are public health administrators, parents, and physicians.
Opposed to such a ban are fast-food franchisees, other parents, and fans of fast-food toys, who say the promotions are often used to provide Christmas presents for poor children.

Physicians point out that the toys are a powerful lure for children, encouraging them to eat unhealthy food, which then helps cause obesity.  Many parents buy the unhealthy food for their children specifically because toys come with the meal!

Here’s my take on this problem:  again, parents are not parenting.

What’s The Matter With Kids Today?

What’s the problem with kids today?  The answer to that is easy:  THEIR PARENTS!

According to the Fresno Bee, five high school seniors cut down two trees on their campus as a “senior prank.”  School officials expelled the students and transferred them to a continuation school to finish out their senior year.

The students (all seniors and football players) cut down two Southern Live Oak trees, with ten-inch trunks.  The trees were about 14 years old and nearly 20 feet high.  The damage was estimated to be between $7,500 and $14,000.  The boys said this was a prank meant to deprive junior classmates of shade.

Stupid, stupid, stupid…..but they are all “jock heroes,” probably way too used to inflated estimations of their own value and power.

The school did exactly the right thing.

The parents did exactly the wrong thing.  They said that the school “overreacted,” and they got attorneys involved to get their kids back in the school.  The school is standing firm.  Good for them.

“To hire attorneys,” as one of my listeners wrote to me, “teaches these kids that they can get away with ‘pranks’ and that they do not have to respect the law or be accountable for such behavior to school officials.  It will be interesting to see how these youngsters turn out as they mature.  Will they be good citizens?  Will they raise their children similarly to how they were raised?  Will their views change on how their own parents handled this life lesson?  It remains to be seen.  I do hope our community doesn’t read about them again later on down the line after they’ve robbed a store or beaten someone up and again hired an attorney to defend their actions.”

That point, in particular, is why (when people call and tell me that they have “x” number of “beautiful” children) I tell them I don’t care if they have pretty or ugly kids.  I only care that they have decent kids, because the well being of all of us depends on that.

Sex Offenders Getting Lenient Sentences

Last week, I blogged bout how horrendous it is that child molesters are treated leniently by judges and by parole boards.  Many of you wonder why that is.  I don’t wonder – it’s because the liberal world view of those in those positions of power concludes that such perpetrators are ultimately not responsible for their behavior, because they have a disease.  Those with a disease are, of course, offered compassion.  Since they conclude that this can’t be a choice or an impulse not resisted or pure evil, then it must be a disease.  Therefore, they believe that incarceration is useless and cruel and the real way to protect us is to put them in therapy (another liberal enclave).

The Catholic Church never turned its child molesters over to the police.  They put them in spiritual rehab again and again and again.  It’s the same mentality:  these people are not evil; they are not criminals.  They are sick and need comfort and direction.

And what about the children who were raped, beaten and murdered?  Well, they say, the best way to insure that no more children are hurt is rehab therapy and spiritual guidance.

That is all complete BS.  These people are evil. 

There is an organization called NAMBLA – the North American Man/Boy Love Association – and they march in parades and have websites and meetings geared to promoting the “healthy reality” that kids are sexual and have a right to their sexuality, and the only reason it has been criminalized is that society is uptight.

Molesters in various forms are quite open, as their world view is that they are healthy and we are not.

Since it is not politically correct to judge any more, many folks in our society (and in positions of power) include child/adult sex as a normal variant of human sexuality (as they do sex with animals and consenting sex with extreme violence and/or near-death experiences).

As we keep dumbing down our notions of right and wrong, you will see more and more of this stuff normalized in our society.

Pretty soon we’ll hear Nero on his violin.

Protecting Our Kids Against Convicted Sex Offenders

People in San Diego are understandably enraged and confused:  a convicted sex offender (who, in the past, had beaten and raped young girls and got only five years in prison) was let out on parole…to rape and kill a young woman again.

In another part of the country, Gary Becker, the fifty two year old former mayor of Racine, Wisconsin had faced up to more than twenty seven years in prison after pleading guilty to child enticement and attempted sexual assault of a child.  What did he get?  His sentence was three years in prison.

The judge in the case, Stephen Simanek, said (brace yourself) that he had been prepared to sentence Becker to probation – PROBATION!! – but was alarmed to discover that Becker had purchased girls’ underwear two weeks prior to sentencing. 

So, instead of probation or 27 years, he got 3 years (with the potential to get out in 1 1/2 years for good behavior – probably because there are no girls to rape in prison). 

In my opinion, any judge who gives less than the permitted maximum should lose the bench.

In my opinion, any Board of Parole that lets a convicted sex offender out before their maximum time is served should lose their position.

It’s a rare thing – in fact, I have NEVER read of a case of rape/molestation/murder of a child done by someone who had no previous record, so letting them out under any circumstances automatically condemns one or more children to rape and/or death.  Great comment for a civilization to make, right?

A Poem for Claire

This is from Barry:

Dear Dr. Laura:

I was a participant in an unwanted, unnecessary divorce…because my wife wasn’t ‘happy.’  I have 3 minor children who, despite my tremendous efforts to the contrary…only get to see me 7-10 days a month.  I do everything I can to remain in their lives so I might display to them the importance and value of good character, good values/morals, and integrity….

For Valentine’s Day, I wrote my 5 year old daughter a poem.  I’m not a poet by any means.  I’m your basic manly man.  These words simply came to me in the half-hour it took to write them down.  In it are references to many things we do as a family….I thought you might like to read it:

 A Poem for Claire

 A poem for Claire is what I will try.
 I hope it turns out – ya see, I’m only a guy.
 There are jobs that I have-
 One is being your Dad.
 Out of all of the jobs
 That one makes me most glad.

 We do things we like
 And some we don’t mind.
 I’m pleased that you’re nice
 And so warm and so kind.

 I tell you I’m serious
 But you know that I’m not
 We’re both very silly
 And we smile a LOT!

 We sit out in back
 And look at the clouds
 You see shapes I don’t see
 You make me so proud.

 Walking to school
 Is always so fun.
 It’s been so cold lately
 We can’t wait for the sun!

 You fiddle with your homework.
 Maybe a snack instead?
 But each night we read
 Just before time for bed.

 I love when we play
 You’re so very special
 We dance and we laugh
 Now it’s time to WRESTLE!

 We cuddle on the sofa
 Watch TV at night.
 But we don’t watch a show
 That might give you a fright.

 We make up games to play
 Sometimes go for a hike.
 But what you like most
 Is riding your bike!

 You play Dan-Ball and Rock Band
 And sometimes the Wii.
 ”Daddy, come look!
 Come here! Come see!”

 I’m busy in the kitchen
 Moving fast there to here.
 You’re the first and the loudest
 During our dinnertime cheer.

 I miss you dearly
 When we’re far apart,
 But I’ll always remind you
 I’m in your head and your heart.

 The message is clear
 In this poem you hear.
 Your Dad loves you greatly
 And I will always be near.

 I want you to know
 You’re my best Valentine.
 I will ALWAYS be yours
 If you will be mine.

 I love you.
 Dad

 You’ve made me a better man, Dr. Laura.  I thank you.