American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
April 30th, 2010
12:16 PM ET

N.J. principal wants to keep students offline

(CNN) – Kids and technology can be a tricky balance, but now one educator says when it comes to Facebook, he wants students offline.

This week, the principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey told parents, "It's time for every single member of the Benjamin Franklin community to take a stand. There is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site. None." Principal Anthony Orsini joined us Friday's American Morning.

Filed under: Controversy • Education
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Richard Roberts in CA

    allow them or not as a parent but its not the principals place to make that call if your allow your 12 yr old unsupervised access to the Internet you are asking for trouble but if you wait until they are older they have no experience to prepare them for life ease them into adulthood don't wait until that magic birthday and say now make your own decisions as they show good judgment allow them more rights you will end up with adults ready to face the world hide the real world from them and they won't know what their up against until its too late ether way its you choice to make not the principals

    May 6, 2010 at 2:55 am |
  2. Richard Roberts in CA

    ban face book don't forget about cell phones and google the have a similar app so does the web browser i use (opera) so better ban computers don't forget about tweeter. how about being a responsible parent and check out what your child is doing and with whom duh don't have the time don't have kids

    May 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  3. Black Talsma

    This principal is right.

    First, Facebook is a joke, and complete waste of time. Second, these kids are only playing with the toys left behind by Baby Boomers. They are not "Tech Savvy". They only know how to play with a bunch of little toys we left for them.

    Facebook, twitter, and all the rest of this junk needs to quietly go away.

    With all of the free email, and blogging sites around, where they can get very creative, they end up spending their time mindlessly sending stupid little messages back and forth.

    Get ready America, the Loser Generation is coming. God, retirement is looking pretty scary.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  4. Beckie

    Betsy, he is talking about middle school. I have 4 kids: 1 graduated, one graduating, a fall semester 6th grader and a fall semester 5th grader. I have to agree. My younger children do not have cell phones and do not text. They play online several times a week, and actually both have been using a computer since they were 18 months. I will not allow them to have cell phones until they are at least in high school, and i do not allow them on Facebook for the exact reasons that the principal states. I don't even live in New jersey, and have not heard about him before today. I see too much dependence by the younger generation on technology, instead of their own ingenuity and imagination.

    It is not about understanding technology and it's uses, in so much as it is about understanding that you CAN livew with out it...Which reminds of me of an email a friend recently sent me with the following excerpt:

    "And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

    We didn't have any fancy PlayStation, Wii or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

    You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off of your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

    There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK to be able to watch cartoons!"

    No, my children do not need to be on facebook...I agree with him 100%. Some technologies are fun and come in handy, but until you realize that the world will revolve without them...

    May 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Bubba

    Betsy, with great power comes great responsibility, and that used to mean turning 21. Nowadays you can get all that power by the time you are a pre-teen, if your parents don't stop you, and do nearly anything an adult can do. But there's a reason for that "21" thing, and it's simply that by 21 most people have lived through enough embarrassing mistakes that they have stopped making them so often. Facebook is another way to make friends, and enemies, and make friends into enemies with one click, etc. Live in the real world as much as you can, with flesh-and-blood friends who can see your face when you goof, and have fun being young.

    May 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  6. Gemini

    I have a very large family and many live in different states. Face book is used by my entire family young and old to keep up with what’s going on in everybody’s lives without sky high phone bills. Not only does my family keep in touch but we have gotten close to our spouses family’s which would not have happen without FB. Our children do not have a problem “friending” moms, dads, uncle’s aunts. My son is able to get to know cousins he only gets to see once maybe twice a year. For the principle to just assume that kids have no reason what so every to be on face book is a very ignorant statement to come from an educator. It is sad that when you have some kids who do something that is wrong many adults must put all kids in that same group. I’m sure my family is not the only one who use’s these sites in this way. IF you have a kid who refuses to “friend you then you may have a problem. Not just with face book but with the relationship with your child.

    May 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  7. PhooBar

    'That'll teach those kidz not to use that technology. We growed ups know better, we know what's good for you. We know all of you children are sexting each other and looking at prono and trolling for pedophiles. Doing disgusting and immoral things to those poor computers! Why back in my day, we just had black and white TeeVee and our Pa's old Argosy magazines.

    I swear, this country just went to hell after the moon landing...

    May 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Scott

    I think it's time school administrators stay out of parenting decisions and get back to the business of education!

    May 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |

    Well, I know that most student are very computer savvy and usually have a great working knowledge of progressive technology. They use the computer to do class assignments, book reports, etc. However, at the same time the computer is being used for many of their questionable behaviors, too. So often, they are getting connected and talking to the wrong people; very dangerous offenders. Somehow, someway, a line is going to have to drawn, I do believe. It's like a double-edged sword though. It cuts both ways.

    May 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  10. Betsy Abraham

    im a 14 year old, going to the average American high school, but why target facebook? there are so many other things kids do now-a-days. Taking facebook off their minds won't change anything. There's still texting as an example. They need to understand the life of a teenager before making changes to it.

    April 30, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  11. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Just take the computer out of there bedrooms and put it in the living rooms so you can keep an eye on them .

    April 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm |