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April 22, 2010

Warning about new social networking site where Walnut Creek kids are bullying and harassing each other

We already--or should already--know about Facebook, Twitter, texting, sexting. Now, Walnut Creek school officials are alerting parents to another online networking site with a strong potential for abuse and causing harm.

It's called formspring.me. Walnut Creek Intermediate Principal Kevin Collins says formspring.me is becoming an increasingly popular place for middle and high school students to network and socialize, and to also say things to one another that are obscene, demeaning, and harassing.

"We have seen postings from current and former students that include horrible language, boasts about unsafe behaviors, and threats to other students," Collins says.  He adds that the postings on formspring.me has caused some issues between WCI students, but he believes it is more widely used among high school students.

According it its Wikipedia site, formspring.me launched on November 25, 2009 and has already become a hit--and a source of controversy. Last month, an argument over formspring.me led to fight breaking out in a high school in Pennsylvania. Insulting comments posted about a 17-year-old Long Island girl may have led to her suicide in late March (Alexis Pilkington, at right, received many vicious taunts on social networking sites, notably formspring.me, prior to her death, news reports say).

"Unlike some other sites, its business model is not easy to discern," Colins said. "The other key feature is that there does not seem to be any ability to filter or report abuse on the site."

Its business model, such as it is, is a Question and Answer form. That is, friends--and enemies--post questions or comments to people's formspring pages. The owner of the page--or user of the service--answers back. 

That lack of filter, or of self-restraint, seems pretty evident among these selections of exchanges that took place on the formspring page of a Walnut Creek girl, a student at one of our high schools.

Here is a series of Q and A's posted in the past couple days her page. The "Q" is the "guest" or "reader" posting the question to the user of the page; the "A" is the user's response.

Q: go back to your moms vachina

A: no thaaanks:)


Q: ok, here he here he...ur a lesbian motherf-----. i f----- hate your [deleted; racial epithet] ass. my asss you dont comment on random peoples pics...no one likes you PERIOD
A: wtf, why you stalking me nd watching every move i make on facebook? thats just creepy

Q: don't "what tha f---" me bitch. i straight up said it. you obviously know that you have flirted with someone's man. you little ugly bitch needs to back the f--- off because NO ONE respects a home-wrecker.

A: calm yur ass budd, i said what tha f--- cuz i didnt know what home wrecker meant. nd if youu think im flirting with yur man, which im probably not, then tell me somehow who youu are so i can stop "flirting" with yur boyfriend


Q: BACK THE F---- OFF OF MY BOYFRIEND!!

A; whoaa, s--- im not doin anything with anybody. im juss talkin, nd yur probably juss takin it tha wrong way :)


According to formspring.me's terms of service, users must be at least 13 years old. The terms also tell prospective users: "You understand that in using the formspring.me service you may encounter content that may be deemed objectionable, obscene or in poor taste, which content may or may not be identified as having explicit language. The formspring.me service allows for anonymous content which formspring.me does not monitor. You agree to use the formspring.me service at your own risk and that formspring.me shall have no liability to you for content that you may find objectionable, obscene or in poor taste."

Users must agree to not engage in any illegal activity--and to not "transmit any pornographic, obscene, offensive, threatening, harassing, libelous, hate-oriented, harmful, defamatory, racist, illegal or otherwise objectionable material or content." 

Hmm. It looks like some of these Walnut Creek students have possibly violated the formspring.me's terms of service.  Oh, but maybe they are just joking around with each other, and this is just how teens hassle one another, but in a friendly way. Is that possible?

Before I close, check out this exchange between a male Walnut Creek student and one of his readers/friends/enemies/hookups:

Q: "You're a f------ a------ and you're full of s---. You're desperate as f--- and you'll hook up with any bitch that wants to give you head. F--- you.

A: um im sorry ur a stupid bitch and u expect me not to flirt with other girls when u r like hooking up with other guys. your f------ crazy, strait crazy. u cant expect me to not when ur getting around so stfu u f------ hypocrite and i wont hook up with annny bitch, only fine ones :

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am most disturbed by the complete lack of grammar and coherent english. Are our english teachers in this district really that bad?

I fear for America's future.

Anonymous said...

This is good info. I appreciate stuff like this because I have 3 children at Las Lomas. Of course I asked them about it. The junior and freshman said they had never heard of it. These two aren't on Facebook much either. The senior is still asleep due to Star testing week sched. She loves Facebook, so if I get any interesting info from her I'll let you know. Nasty language aside, it's the seemingly gratuitous threats of violence that disturb me.

Anonymous said...

7:37

Were you hurt as a child? If so, I am sorry for you. You may want to think about something, though. Hurting others does not serve you well.

All the best,

DS

Anonymous said...

Yes, the English teachers really are that bad. They are more interested in teaching their views on politics. Maybe they should have majored in Poli Sci. Of course you can't blame them, they too were "taught" brainwashed by professors.

Anonymous said...

Yo!!!

Get back on subject here folks.

The spelling and gramatical errors don't mean a thing on this site....it is the content that is frightening. Stow your political beliefs for the moment and focus on what is being said.

How sad that these kids have no sense of self worth and think its cool to be so raunchy. Where have we gone wrong?

It is a shame that the schools seem to be the only ones monitering this behaviour but thankfully they are alerting parents.

Now it is up to the parents to take the responsibility of raising their children and instilling confidence and values in them.

Thanks Mom for the information.

Anonymous said...

Not Ourrrrr Childrennn!!

Beau Hunk said...

And the parents are where?

Anonymous said...

Beau Hunk,

Working of course....more important to have the big house and 2 giant SUVs in the driveway than to be home after school with their kids.

Anonymous said...

Or the parents are partying with their friends and getting botox injections so they look younger

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you are most disturbed about the spelling and grammar! These kids are using this forum to bully and post inappropriate and disgusting comments. I am sure some have both parents around but the kids are in their room with their computer and no one is checking where they are visiting on the internet. Parents need to be responsible and monitor on line behavior

Anonymous said...

Our children are growing up in a world we cannot control so we need to be available for our children... INVADE THEIR PRIVACY- ask who they are texting and what they are saying, or ask what they are planning to do downtown after school for an hour and a half before the movie starts, change your plans to accommodate there needs, let them know it's not okay to talk disrespectfully, in a hurtful manner, or use bad language in speech or in text talk, demand to be their friend on Facebook and if this fails ask a trusted friend or adult to become their friend and make sure they are monitoring content. It doesn't matter if you work full time or not at all. Parenting is FULL TIME - and UNRELENTING. You need to let your kid know that he or she is important to you every day all day. So many of my peers get lazy in this area and it shows by their children's floundering on the road to growing up.

ms

Anonymous said...

Well said 3:45. Tweens and Teens need more parent not less as they get older. As life gets more complicated, car keys, a cell phone and a couple of texts doesn't equal effective parenting. You pay for the cell phone, you pay for the laptop, you pay for the internet...regulate it! Look at your cell phone bill, see when the texts/calls are happening if they are past 11pm, then take away the cell phone at night.
Make sure you have the password to Facebook, Myspace etc...if no password then they can't use the computer or the application.

The young adults have become numb to the language they use, after typing the F-word 100 times it no longer become offensive when they use it or hear it. Bit**, Slut, Whore, A**Hole don't mean anything to the group. So either the adults needs need to accept the language or help work with the young people on how it is not appropriate and to coach them through it.

You can love them a thousand times over, but they can't be your friend. You are the parent, it is a hard job, but it is the most important one. Make the hard decisions, set firm boundaries, Say "NO", and don't give in to your child. It will be worth it in the long run.

And finally delete their formspring account. It makes Facebook and MySpace look civil.

Anonymous said...

4:16: "Make sure you have the password to Facebook, Myspace etc..."

What kind of terrible parent are you? That is tricking your children, that is destroying the bond of trust you can ever hope of having with them. They will instantly reject anything you may tell them if they cannot trust you and if they lose your respect.

That is so ineffective and unethical. The only hope we have is PARENTS EDUCATING THEIR CHILDREN. If your children REALLY respect you, they will follow what you say. If they think you are a deceiving, sneaky Facebook/MySpace snooper, they will never trust you and defy you even more.

I fear for America's future due to lack of effectual parenting not "lack of coherent English."

Anonymous said...

Kids are using Formspring.me? I've only seen it used in the design/crafting world. It can be a very useful tool. Too bad kids are using it in a destructive way. But, as always, it's not the tool that's the problem...

Anonymous said...

I was teetering on 'A', more $$ out of my pocket for The Children.

This decided it, A big NO was just sent in today.

These indulged offspring of SUV spoiled parents aren't what this country was made of.

Do any of them have jobs??

Ever?? Why do they have all these electronic gadgets?

Enough indulgence at my hard earned wage.

Anonymous said...

They have 4, 5 and 6 hours of homework everyday. We put the responsibility for the value of our homes, on their backs. If AP scores go down, so do the values of our homes. Anyone of them would trade a job for the relentless homework they have, if they could still get into college. But that is no longer possible. College is easier. I know a young woman who spent these hours of homework in high school, after a 7 hour school day. Now she has half the class times and much less homework. She gets straight A's at UC, has a job, and now has a real social life (not just facebook and texting). College is easier than high school at these 10 rated schools. Their social contact is limited to facebook and texting where they steal a few moments here and there. We use to work, yes, but I remember hanging out after school with my buddies most days. Times are different and our kids are suffering, not spoiled.

Anonymous said...

We are all to blame. Me, too. This is the direct result of our Woodstock sex, drugs and rock and roll culture. This is what we have wrought.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to standards of decency? Music, movies and even tv shows today are raunchy, violent and mean-spirited. It degrades our culture and the evil seeps into our children.

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