What should parents know about Formspring?

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What should parents know about Formspring?

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Formspring is a site, it's an anonymous site. It was created a few years ago, and it's persisted where anyone can put up a question. You can post it anonymously or you can post it non-anonymously, and people can answer anonymously or non-anonymously, depending on the way you have set it up, but children don't really understand the repercussions of these kinds of things. Some children will post a question, and they may be public in posting it, and lots of people answer anonymously, and they may be really cruel in their answers. Formspring has had a lot of controversy because there has been a lot of bullying, there were a few deaths associated with Formspring - obviously, Formspring wasn't responsible, but kids felt bullied because once something is anonymous, people can say whatever they want and kids don't understand these words can really hurt. I recommend that kids don't go on Formspring. Most kids don't have the social learning to understand the power of this kind of form, but kids are kids. If your kid is on there, and you find out, I would really talk to them. First of all I'd talk to them about what they're posting, what other people are posting; how that can seem like bullying, how it can come across; what is being posted on there, and second of all, I would really go through the privacy settings and really make them understand what's anonymous, what's non-anonymous, if they're actually going to post a question, can other people find what they're posting etc.

See Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD 's video on What should parents know about Formspring?...

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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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