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'Get your kids off Facebook'

Lindisfarne principal Chris Duncan has put his criticisms on Facebook on the front of the school newsletter.
Lindisfarne principal Chris Duncan has put his criticisms on Facebook on the front of the school newsletter.

A TWEED HEADS high school principal has used the school newsletter to attack global social media website, Facebook.

Instead of his usual 800-word opinion piece, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School principal Chris Duncan put a two-sentence message on the front of the latest school newsletter.

"Get your kids off Facebook. This verbal sewer is harming your children," Mr Duncan wrote in large bold capitalised font.

He said that he has not received any negative feed about his comments.

"Nobody's seriously criticised Facebook and I think it's time we do.

"Half have said, 'good on you for saying it'."

Social-media savvy school chaplain Glenn Loughrey blogged in a little more detail about the dangers Facebook posed to children.

Mr Loughrey said children on Facebook will discover the need to constantly reinvent themselves in response to comments on their walls.

"It's become an extension for their playground behaviour but the internet holds it forever.

"There are risks when you put teenagers (in this setting) and it gives them an opportunity to act as teenagers do," he said.

"They don't say this sort of things face to face but they will say these things to each other on Facebook."

Griffith University sociology associate lecturer Brady Robards said he agreed self-identity posed a challenge for young people.

"It has always been a challenge for young people, Facebook or not.

"What I disagree with is the implication that Facebook somehow makes this process more difficult," he said.

"For lots of young people, articulating stories about themselves - and making their lives and their forms of social capital visible - can be very productive in this 'identity project'. "

Mr Robards said such "knee-jerk" comments were damaging.

"These blanket bans are troubling and concerning.

"It's damaging for people that are using them responsibility and productively to be told that their practices are destructive," he said.

"(Teachers) could learn a few things from their students as young people are at the vanguard of these technologies."

NSW Secondary Principals' Council president Chris Cawsey said she believed the majority of youth used social media responsibly.

"I can imagine that some principals have been concerned in what is happening in their school and obviously the principal of Lindisfarne is very worried about his school.

"Facebook isn't as simple as it all wrong or it's all right," Ms Cawsey said.

"It has provided some opportunities for some really good communications."

Mr Duncan said Facebook may have positives but he won't let his 15-year-old daughter join.

Topics:  facebook principal social media



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