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Education Section Request: Facebook button off

I am an elementary school teacher who is very happy beginning to use DuoLingo to teach French. My students are very excited about it.

I have a concern, though, given the fact that I am working with young students, about the button encouraging them to post their progress on Facebook or Twitter when they "level up." Hopefully, at their ages, they do not have Facebook accounts, since they are supposed to be 14 or older to create one. At their ages, I think this could be considered a form of advertisement for something that they are not allowed to use, though, which could raise quite a few problems.

I would also appreciate the ability to disable the feature that invites users to search for a friend to compete with. Our students can become overly competitive at times, or suffer if they are struggling and others know how few points they are earning at times, so I aim to keep grades private. It would be helpful if we could simply turn off that feature so that it does not even raise questions.

Thank you to the team that is doing such a beautiful job of rolling out the educators' component of this site!

August 29, 2015


[deactivated user]

    Hi SrAudreyFrances! I'm a little surprised to see that disabling the Activity Stream doesn't ban "adding friends". I would suggest moving this to the "Educators" forum, so that staff will be more likely to see this. You can do this by:

    1. Clicking "Edit" in the "Subsciptions" window and scrolling down until you see the Educators forum. Subscribe to it.

    2. Edit post

    3. Click "Duolingo" in the editing window, because it is a drop down menu.

    4. Select the Educators forum

    5. Save post

    Good luck, and happy learning!


    Thank you, I think that is a good idea, and will move this post.


    I also wish options were available to disable the Facebook buttons and the invite and compete with friends features. These may be useful in some ways to someone learning independently, but I can't see much use for them in a classroom situation, regardless of students' ages - just potentially annoying really.


    You say that you have to be 14 in order to create a Facebook account but there are millions of facebook users who are below that age. I believe that the age of 14 is a US government recommendation which also applies to Duolingo.


    I certainly agree, there are many children with Facebook accounts. I have checked, and I was wrong about the age, but here is what I found out: Facebook requires that users tell their age when they sign up, and the minimum age required is 13. In any case, it is a concern for me as an educator.


    That's a bit of a sticky wicket these days. As Madame Frances points out, the age of consent in the U.S. is 13. As you point out, this rule is routinely ignored (mostly by children that misrepresent their age) and I suspect enforcement is lax. In a nutshell the U.S. law says that website operators and app makers may not collect personally identifying information about children under age 13 without parental consent. If you've ever wondered where the rule came from, it came from the U.S. congress and is administered by the Federal Trade Commission. You can read about it <a href="http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm">here</a>.

    I teach in a middle school but I also teach students under the age of 13. I find it a bit stifling. There are many worthy and desirable websites and apps that collect personal information, so the knee-jerk reaction of administrators is to say "that's illegal." I was at a workshop last year where the presenter informed us that email was "illegal" for children under age 13. Well it's not.

    What's illegal is for a website operator or app maker to collect personally identifying information about a child under age 13 <em>without</em> the consent of the parent. <em>With</em> parental consent, a child of any age can legally access whatever she wants, including facebook or outlook email.

    It gets more interesting because the website operators are sometimes confused about the law. Google, for example, will not allow anyone under age 13 to sign up for an account. They probably just don't want to deal with the hassle of gaining parental consent. In contrast, I signed up my seven-year-old son for a Microsoft account a few weeks ago. Microsoft has a parent consent procedure in place so any child, with parental consent, can sign up.

    Sorry if I rambled! Madame Francis has a legitimate concern and perhaps the Duolingo team will add that feature.

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