Published Online: June 14, 2010
Published in Print: June 16, 2010, as PTA, Facebook Promote Safety

PTA, Facebook Promote Online Safety

Facebook is joining forces with the National PTA to promote Internet safety through a set of tools and resources for students, schools, and parents.

The world’s largest online social network and the PTA will help build a program to provide information and support about such issues as cyberbullying, good online citizenship, and Internet security.

Because the partnership is just starting, officials do not have much detail on what kinds of resources they plan to offer through their respective websites and other means. Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said the plan is not just to educate students about being on Facebook, but about being online.

The PTA, which has 5 million members, will reach out to local parent-teacher groups to promote the program, while Facebook plans to do the same on its site, which claims 400 million users.

Anne Collier, co-director of Connectsafely.org, a forum about online safety issues, said combining Facebook’s broad reach and the PTA’s relationship with schools and parents make sense.

“Citizenship online and offline needs to be a part of the child’s life,” she said. “It needs to be taught at school and at home—it’s not just a digital thing.”

Child safety advocate Parry Aftab also welcomed the program, and said it’s important for parents not to be scared of technology but to use it to their advantage to communicate with their children.

“It’s not about turning it off any more, it’s not about scare tactics,” Ms. Aftab said. “It’s all about teaching our kids the skills they need to survive in this digital world.”

Vol. 29, Issue 35, Page 13

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