Here is a scary thought: Banning MySpace – at Home. According to this post on KairosNews, and the orignal article here, St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic School in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is banning students from using MySpace, on campus AND at home. “Those students who have existing MySpace.com accounts must delete them if they wish to continue going to school there. Students who do not delete their accounts cannot attend the school, Van Velzen [the school’s principal] said.”
Protecting students from the evils of the web is one thing, but I’m waiting to see when the first lawsuit is going to come about for violation of First Amendment rights. The scary thing is that according to the article, most parents seem to be in favor of the new school policy. Is this because it is easier to ban the use of MySpace than to learn about it and educate students on responsible, ethical, and safe use? Also, who is going to check to see whether students delete or keep their accounts, and how will the school be able to prove whether a student has an account or not? I’m sure students are already thinking of ways to circumvent this new policy.
Instead of banning out of fear, schools and parents are better off learning about the web tools that kids are going to use, forging better relationships with kids AND technology, as I argue in the latest issue of Innovate that focuses on the Net Generation. I especially would like to point out the first comment on my article, made by Elizabeth Igarza from South Texas College within hours of the article being posted online. A couple of excerpts:
School districts across the globe are scrambling to keep up with blocking the newest social networking sites that pop up online seemingly overnight so as to safeguard our children while at school. Why then, like any other educator who cares about the well-being of our children, would I advocate unblocking these potentially dangerous sites? Simply put, because when we block our portals, we close our eyes and leave millions of our kids are out there alone, vulnerable, and unprotected. We have a duty to un-block access to social networking sites and get in there to help them understand this new connectedness, make informed choices, and lead the transformation toward a greater good.
We could, however, just continue sitting behind blocked content warnings and let the next generation stumble in the middle of the information highway without so much as warning them to look both ways before crossing into a new digital neighborhood. Or we can get logged in, lead the dialogue and the content, and guide them in building social networks that will benefit their lives and our increasingly interconnected world. If we don’t, the headlines are full of terrifying stories of who might.
As a former social studies teacher, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Please read the entire comment at Innovate, and thanks for commenting on my article Elizabeth!!
Image Credit: MySpace.com for the MySpace logo. The rest is PhotoShopped.