PTA joins with Facebook to promote Internet safety

Jun 10, 2010

(AP) -- The PTA and Facebook are joining forces to promote Internet safety through a set of tools and resources for kids, schools and parents.

The world's largest online social network and the National PTA will work together to build a program to provide information and support about such issues as cyberbullying, good online citizenship and .

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 through other means. But spokesman Barry Schnitt said the plan is not just to educate kids about being on Facebook, but about being online.

He said "the sooner we can get instilling responsible behavior, the better."

The PTA will reach out to local parent-teacher groups to promote the program, while Facebook plans to do the same on its site.

Anne Collier, co-director of Connectsafely.org, a forum about online safety issues, said the deal combining Facebook's broad reach and the PTA's relationship with schools and parents "makes a lot of 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 kids.

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

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