Parents doubt Bebo site while their kids defend it

by Kyle

2006 | Taranaki Daily News
5:00AM Friday November 24, 2006
By Lyn Humphreys | Taranaki Daily News

PARENTS and young people are split on the possible dangers of the popular teen website bebo.com.
The Taranaki Daily News asked for feedback on this week’s story on Bebo.

The request follows concerns expressed by some Taranaki schools and the Christian-based social services organisation Open Home Foundation.
They were keen to alert people to bullying, intimidation, obscene language and photos, drug-taking and racism seen on the site.

Bebo.com has not responded to our questions from the paper on whether it monitors potentially dangerous or defamatory information on the site.

Here are some of the email reaction sent to the paper – most of which was anonymous-follows:

A Mother Says: I’d like to add that seemingly “normal” children are using this site and writing disgusting, degrading things about themselves on their homepage.
I have personally banned the site from use at our home as I have seen, via a teenaged friend of mine, what my teenager had written on it. My child does not know that it was her mother that has done this she thinks it is merely an internet glitch.
I want the site shut down, if not to the rest of the world, then New Zealand.

A Student Says: Today we were openly discussing the article on Bebo in class.
Our teacher talked about the cons and the students talked about the pros. I have been a member of Bebo for years we have never had any problems. Since the article in the Taranaki Daily News there have been anti Daily News clubs. There may have been a few incidents but now there will be hundreds.

Bebo User Says: Bebo isn’t all that badder (sic) website. My friends and I communicate well on there and it’s great because it feels like your own personal property online.
I know what principals mean about bullying. I mean that can’t be tolerated as well as inappropriate photos and language as I hear it all the time from my parents and have heard what can happen.
I think Bebo is a great site as long as people around you and yourself don’t misuse it.

A Mother Says: My intermediate daughter has for some time been a member of this Bebo site.
I have checked this site out on occasion when my daughter has been online and looked at the photos she has uploaded to ensure they are appropriate.
I have spoken to my daughter about the dangers and risks of placing personal information on the Internet and have put time limits on computer usage.
But after reading this article about Bebo.com and also reading this to my daughter, we have both agreed to disable her membership immediately.
Surprisingly, my daughter was happy to comply.
To be honest, if I had spent more time looking into this particular site, I may have chosen not to allow my daughter to sign on in the first place.

Kyle Says: Bebo is an awesome website. It’s cool being able to connect with friends. One of the downsides is that ANYONE can comment on your profile, even if they aren’t added as a friend. It is a problem because if someone you don’t like starts abusing you, everyone can see it (unless you manually delete it).
MySpace doesn’t have this problem, as only confirmed friends can chat.

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