School principal warns parents: Get your kids off Facebook it’s a verbal sewer [, 22/09/2011]

Lindisfarne principal Chris Duncan and the school newsletter bearing his stark warning about Facebook

AN AUSTRALIAN school principal fed up with cyber-bullying has gone to war on Facebook.

Chris Duncan, principal of Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, in Tweed Heads, New South Wales used his school newsletter to warn parents in bold print: “GET YOUR KIDS OFF FACEBOOK. THIS VERBAL SEWER IS HARMING YOUR CHILDREN.”
Mr Duncan said he decided to take the radical action after he helped a 16-year-old student who suffered serious abuse on Facebook.
He said he was aware of students who had been sent into an “appalling state” due to abuse they received on Facebook, with some children being more vulnerable than others.
“Some kids deal with it really well and other kids are mortally wounded by it and it’s just the way different kids react to things,” he told the Australian Daily News.
“I, and all of my colleague principals around the country, deal with very distressed young people and very distressed parents who have been subjected to what I would call tirades of verbal abuse on Facebook.”
Mr Duncan said he expelled two students last year for serious online harassment online of other students, one on Facebook and the other on the school’s internal email system.
He said he was not suggesting a blanket Facebook ban, but urged parents to be more proactive.
“My concern is parents are not overly aware of what their kids are subjected to until it gets to the point you’ve got a very distressed, abused young person,” he said.
“Certainly if they’ve got primary school age kids they shouldn’t be on Facebook for a start and with teenage kids they should be aware of what they’re doing, or limit their time on the computer at least.”