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As a parent, how can I stop my underage child from being followed by tons of people?

Hi - We love DuoLingo, but tons of people seem to be following my son and sending him e-mails and notes, which all go to my (parent) account. Is there a way to stop this deluge?

June 29, 2014



rowan32 The only way you get followers is if you post stuff for them to follow. The only way you get emails is if you post your email address or if you ask to be notified about responses to comments that you have made when you make the comment . The only way you get notes is if you look in your activity column.

Tell your son to stop posting your email address. Set up a dummy email account for him that you can monitor and let him post all the spam bait he wants. Go into Duo profile and you will notice that there is a capability of making public your name, email address, biographical info and a one click button to post it all to a facebook account. Like most Facebook users, your son has undoubtedly gone to some trouble to make it as easy and attractive as possible for people to see him on facebook. Do something about that. Also go into Notification located under your account user name on the Duo home page and turn off all the positives that your son has likely activated.

..........Basically you have to decide what it is you are trying to do with your son. You aren't getting a lot of email because of Duo. You aren't getting a lot of email because of your son. You are getting a lot of email because you aren't monitoring what he is signing up for but insisting that the results of his unmonitored online activities come to you. He wants spam (especially if you have to deal with the negative stuff), he wants followers, he wants notes, he wants comments, he wants likes, he wants what he has come to believe is social recognition. You want to stop it. That is something you and your son have to work out.

All Duo can do is stop some of the automatic stuff that your son has initiated but no one can stop him from posting your email address in other ways. Or posting a comment on this discussion page and clicking on the green follow discussion button in the top right hand corner.


if you do ANY immersion activity-- which duolingo keeps telling us they want us to do, then we get LOTS of followers.........and then any time we translate a sentence, they are right on top of us ......

I don't think any of us should be required to have followers without knowing about it and agreeing to be followed by the person


But you are saying that you want to post public comments but you don't want people to know you are making them even though your comments can be anonymous. If I don't want people to see my comments on Duo then the only recourse is not to make them. If I don't want people to see me walking down the street even when I am wearing a mask to hide my identity, then the only recourse is to not walk down the street.

I make many comments, (this being one of them). If I make the appropriate clicks on the top of this page I will never be bothered by any communication in response to it. If someone chooses to follow me it seems that they can post on my activity page without my permission. I am not sure because I never look at it even though I have many, many followers.

Of course, if I want to use the activity page as a way to communicate with some students, the presence of others can be annoying. This is similar to going to a party so I can be with people but find it annoying that other people come up and interrupt conversations I'm have with particular individuals. I actually find that really, really annoying. That is why I don't go to parties.

I get lots of party invitations. I don't accept them. I get lots of followers. I get notices that they have posted on my stream. I usually ignore them. I don't go to parties, I don't go the activity stream. I have lots of other ways of meeting and being with people.


the issue is not simply that people can see what anyone posts.....obviously, if someone posts, it is specifically to put something out there for someone to read

following is different....when someone 'follows' - it's more invasive...they look at your activity ....they see when you are on.....what exactly you are doing -- they can then shadow you.....and for example, every time you go to a document in inversion...they follow you there.. they can post on your activity.......they can read communication between you and your friend.....

it is stalking - it is not simply reading a particular thing that someone posted....or simply reading a particular sentence you translate......it is purposefully, diligently, continually, stalking your every move on duolingo

it is lousy once this starts happening to you - and I am stunned that duolingo is so unresponsive to this request to block following


But you are talking about public activities. Posting on your activity stream, comments or immersion is like posting on the notice board in the neighborhood laundromat. I put it there for everyone to see. That is the whole point.

I can put a notice up in the laundromat offering a car for sale with a phone number attached. People will be able to see my phone number. If I don't want them to see my phone number and I most certainly don't, then I don't post a notice there. I can't very well go to the laundromat and ask that they screen who can look at the telephone number. It isn't their job, how could they even if they wanted to and what I could tell them that they could use for a filter to apply when screening?

I have over three hundred people following me. I want them to see everything I post, if for some reason they are interested. That is why I post things. I am always surprised that someone seems to want to see everything I post anywhere on Duo, which is how it works I think. They aren't stalking or diligently, purposely, continually doing anything that I didn't just finish asking them to do. I said ...hey everybody, look at this. They clicked an icon that made it very easy to keep doing what I just requested that they do and Duo lets me know that they did.

If I didn't want people to see something I wrote, I wouldn't post it in a public forum. What reason would Duo have to implement a system to facilitate private exchanges between people? There are already plenty of ways to communicate outside of Duo. Why would Duo reinvent the wheel and set up another social media platform for private communication?


NorthernGuy: you're missing the point.

If I make a post in a specific thread, then if people want to follow that thread it's none of my business. I have no objection to people reading that thread or even my post within that thread. It's a public forum.

Following someone in particular, however, is like inviting a specific person to read EVERYTHING I post, to follow my activities while using the site, and this is far, far more invasive.

If you want to let a specific individual follow you, fine. More power to you. What I believe Margolf and I (and many other people, apparently) are asking for is the ability to turn this off, to prevent any specific individual from following my every move.

All I want, and believe I should have, is veto power over who gets to follow me and who doesn't. So far as I can tell, there's no valid defense for NOT offering me this ability.


Hi rowan32, it is possible to edit the profile to append a message under "Full Name" (See my profile for example). Just have them login, hover the mouse over the username where it appears in the blue bar at the top of the screen, click "settings" (first) and then "profile".

Maybe just put a note of "I am very busy so I will not be doing follow-backs or replying to messages from people who post on my Activity." Additionally, you have the option of blocking anyone who messages and/or follows via Activity.

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I hope this helps!


I keep asking how to block followers- and am told we cannot do that- anyone can follow us and we cannot prevent it-- yet you say that there is a way to block a follower-- how?


You can also unsubscribe from all messages under your Profile-Settings. Unfortunately, there is no way to set an account to "No followers" yet.


Great idea, these predators are sneaky and love to befriend kids of all ages on the internet. Personally, I would tell my son not to speak to men on here, period. I have daughters (in college now) and that worked well for them growing up. I just told them to always assume male strangers with a propensity for unsolicited communication on the internet ALWAYS have a personal agenda. Anyone who argues your initial question is likely of those with a personal agenda.



The comments and notes etc. that rowan32 is talking about are not unsolicited. The son invites them. The problem is that rowan32 has organized it so that they all go to him/her which he/she finds tiresome.

rowan32 has three options to deal with the responses to the activities of the son. Stop directly monitoring the activities and redirect the responses back to the son. Convince the son to stop generating the responses. Request that Duo organize itself so that no matter what the son does there will be no responses.

All of this has nothing to do with unsolicited, unwanted responses from potential predators. Your suggestion that anyone who tries to identify what rowan32 's real problem is as part of finding a solution is likely a male predator, is less than helpful.


I don't think you understand what these people are doing......even if someone NEVER posts to a discussion group-- if they do ANYTHING in immersion, then they get on the radar of these people who like to follow people and annoy them. this is no different than any other online stalking......privacy options should be provided


But how do they annoy you? How can they stalk you? All they can do is say they don't like the translations offered by an entity called Margolf. If you don't respond to them they will very quickly lose interest in what Margolf does or does not do.

I once did an immersion translation of a subject which I have enough expertise in to be very familiar with the English terminology. I translated the French phrase into English ...circle of effect... which was the comparable term in English. Some one edited my translation to... blast radius..... while being very dismissive of my translation since in his opinion it wasn't even meaningful English. Now blast radius is a similar but more limited term. The French author clearly meant the latter phrase which is common in that area of expertise.

Now I could have engaged with the person editing my translation or do what I did. Just ignore what he said. It was clear that he was sure that he understood all that needed to be known about the subject. But my purpose was to be there to practice translating not to prove myself to him. If I engaged him it would quite likely have ended up with him following me editing other translations and posting negative comments and just generally annoying me. But what do I care? He doesn't even know who I am and I can completely ignore him. Except who needs even hassle that you can ignore. I had already done my translation of something that it was unlikely anyone would ever read and if they did, probably wouldn't understand or notice the difference between the two phrases anyway. So since as far as I was concerned I was finished, I just left it.

Someone may see this interaction we're having and decide to start hassling me somehow. But they don't know who I am. All they can do is start posting on my activity stream and I don't look at that anyway. Why should Duo have to change when it is so easy for any individual to deal with any problem? If you like to look at your activity stream and someone posts stuff you don't like, just ignore it and move on. Do that and they will go away soon enough.


You're certainly entitled to your opinion. I did not imply that your response was in that category, as it was obviously informative and educational, as opposed to argumentative. I agree with your entire initial response. My point was, with all settings at default, IF he is legitimately posting questions or comments in accord with his language learning, then anyone who sees it might hit the follow button, and even if he's using a dummy email (like me), when he logs in, he can see alerts with messages directly to him. (I'm not familiar with the parental account set up and maybe that's different.) Less than helpful though? I think maybe you've misinterpreted and thus taken offense to my comment. Any time there is discussion about being wary of strangers communicating with a child online, (as this parent was already being proactive and hence my first comment) a seed is planted. Is that really bad? In my line of work, I've run across many careless and incapable parents who fail to secure their child's upbringing in many different ways so giving praise to a parent who is obviously making an effort seems rational.

"All of this has nothing to do with unsolicited, unwanted responses from potential predators."

Again, I disagree wholeheartedly. I would wager a tremendous amount that this parent's inquiry is directly, if not wholly related to exactly that. Perhaps you don't have children.


On his device, go to Duolingo website and request desktop view of the site, click on his profile picture, click settings, go to privacy settings, and un-check the box next to "make profile public" after that, his profile will not be shown to other users, therefore nobody can follow him.

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