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Power to hurt: how social media impacts our kids

Original post made on Aug 16, 2013

Social media is an integral and growing force in young lives, everyone agrees. Yet it carries significant risks. In cyberspace, it is easy for youth to blur and cross lines between private and public, playful banter and painful teasing, truth and lies, humor and hurt, respect and disrespect.
==B Read the Weekly's== [Web Link six-part cover story] ==B on how social media is impacting our kids.==

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 16, 2013, 6:57 AM

Comments (12)

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

Children under 18 should not have a Facebook account.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

As we pull the curtains back on what people really are and how they behave ... it is not such a pretty sight. Being cruel becomes the only refuge for people who grow up around inferior people ... the bad forces out the good, and we have a positive feedback loop on bad. I never even heard of anything like most of this stuff as a kid, it was just as unimaginable as someone bringing a gun or knife to school.


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Posted by Geordie
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I agree with Maria, but FB is just not that responsible, like their CEO.


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Posted by Vered
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by John Owens
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

With a 17 year old, I have only seen the damage that social media causes. We moved bullying online, where it can be more powerful, hateful and anonymous. And there are no controls, no matter what any parents think!


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Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm


In the wake of the Weekly's superb article on social media and how it can harm teenagers, but before asking why we allow this harm in our schools, let's tote up some things forbidden on campus—at Gunn, for example—because they disrupt, distract, or endanger.

If you're a teenager at Gunn, you can't bring your fireworks or water-balloons onto campus. You're forbidden by the student handbook to bring laser-pointers or matches or noise-makers onto campus, because the "presence of inappropriate objects can create a disruption." Nix on the skateboards or bikes, when classes are in session. You can't wear clothing that's too revealing (e.g., bellybuttons banned), because "appearance and dress…shall not interfere with teaching and learning."

Hazing is out. So are t-shirts with profanity on them, or drug insignia. Lay off the streaking or "excessive affection." Unregistered visitors qualify as trespassers; don't go barefoot; and forget about loitering in a restroom.

"But by all means," we are in effect saying to our children, "make use of your electronic device at school—where during passing-periods, and brunch, and lunch, and prep periods, and when you've skipped out of class to use the restroom and not loiter, you can check social media to send and receive gossip, taunts, lewd comments, subtle harassment, anonymous bullying, and naked photos."

"By all means," we say by our silence, "suffer the resulting feelings—which never, ever, will make it hard for you to flourish in class."


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Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I think it ought to be of the deepest possible concern to our community that, in a week in which two school-related teenage issuesâ€"streaking, and the harm of social mediaâ€"come before the community via the Weekly, the first issue, which is inconsequential, draws an immense amount of public comment and discussion (on this site), while the latter, which is of enduring and painful importance for the well-being of our children, goes virtually uncommented-upon.

Sincerely, Marc Vincenti


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Posted by z
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Parents seem to have abdicated control - given over to their own screen addiction they no longer try to monitor their children - who are even more vulnerable.

For those with any strength of character. Dont let your kids use social media until they are 18. Dont give them a smart phone. Monitor - indirectly- their computer time at home.

Those were the rules before 2 years ago. They worked fine. Its only now the whole community has given up and been lost to screen addiction.


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Posted by A
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Right on Mark Vincenti


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Posted by Annie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

Mark Vincenti,

The reason it goes uncommented upon is NOT because it is not read.

It is read.

Its just that palo altonians are so used to the free child care that comes from letting their kids online 24/7 that they have nothing to say. Guilty as charged. So silent.

This is an excellent article. I too commend the paOnline for doing this. And share your opinion about the silly streaking.


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Posted by Compliance
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

It is important for the school district to educate all student and parents what to do when one has been cyberbullied. I as a parent don't know if I should contact school or police.

There should be many ways such as 24 hour reporting line, or report online, or talk to the conselor. The program needs to be educated so when such an incident happened, everyone knows what to do.


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Posted by weekly reader
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2013 at 11:08 am

Okay, Instructional Council, Site Council, PTSA it is up to you to weigh-in on restrictions of electronic devices on campus. Convince the principal that you will support her 100% if she implements restrictions.

And while you are at it what about the open campus - even worse in my opinion.


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