Teens Use the Internet Differently
"You know were not going to search for it," said Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter. "But chances are if it's out there and it's threatening or it's inappropriate and a lot of people are seeing it, it's going to come back to school. And in those situations we would act just as if it had been... As a picture laid on my desk."
In Missouri, even if the activities do not take place on high school grounds, students still face the music for inappropriate activities that get back to school officials. They could suffer consequences. That is what happened at Boonville High School where Facebook pictures led to extracurricular suspensions. Some students say that's too harsh.
"I don't think they should get punished by the school, for doing stuff when they're not in school," said Rock Bridge Junior Stephanie Spradling. "I really think that it's up to the parents and stuff to, if they're going to get in trouble, I don't think it should be up to the school."
Administrators at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia use software to block students from using web sites like Facebook or MySpace, at school.
"It is to protect children. That is it's goal," explained media specialist Gwen Struchtemeyer. "From things on the Internet that may be unsavory and we wouldn't want our children to see. Ours blocks things like hate crimes or pornography."
Both MySpace and Facebook have endorsed a proposed law that would require sex offenders to register their email addresses with law enforcement officials. But even with these precautions, school authorities say protecting children begins at home.
"Parents really need to be proactive," Struchtemeyer said. "We can do as much as we can do here on school grounds but I really think parents need to be involved with their students and with their children, and know what they're posting and take a look at their Facebook and their MySpace pages."
There are all kinds of resources on protecting your family from dangers online. You can also learn more about social networks and how to protect yourself or your teen online.