Leonard Sax to Parents: Protect Your Child

A participant uses an Apple iPad during the Catholic Press Congress at the Vatican Oct. 4. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Oct. 4, 2010) See PRESS-MISSION Oct. 4, 2010.

As readers of this blog know, I've addressed some of the ways that students are harming themselves and others through the destructive use of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. These same concerns were the subject of a controversial op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

The author of the op-ed is Dr. Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and psychologist well known for his books in the area of educational psychology and adolescent development (his Why Gender Matters should, in my opinion, be required reading for teachers). In his WSJ piece, Dr. Sax discussed sexting, online bullying and other device-enabled behaviors that cause depression, emotional collapse or, in some cases, suicide. Speaking of one incident where a 12-year-old began to cut herself and talk of killing herself, Dr. Sax asked, "Who is to blame in this situation?"

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His answer: 

I blame their parents. The parents provided their kids with cellphones capable of taking, sending and receiving photographs, but they provided no oversight. 

I go around the country talking about this issue, and I'm always surprised when parents express reluctance about deploying software to monitor all the devices their children use. There are widely available programs, such as My Mobile Watchdog, Mobile Spy and Net Nanny Mobile that send any photo your child takes or receives on her phone immediately to your phone and laptop, even before your child has sent the photo anywhere.

The rest of Sax's article is available here.  

Have any readers used the programs that Dr. Sax suggests? If so, do you have any comments on their effectiveness?

Related Posts:

Update: Felony Counts in Florida Bullying

It Tolls for Thee

The Newest Threat to Good Teaching

Saving Students on Social Media

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