Protecting our students and children has always been a matter of importance in any community. However, when does that protecting start hindering those that were ment ot be protected?
I personally have always been a big supporter of treating kids like adults until the need for them to be treated like kids arises. I was lucky enough to be raised in a household where “Because I said so” was never the excuse. Instead truthful conversations and explainations were how I was raised.
I think a similar approach needs to be taken with students and their online privileges. School firewalls and site restrictions are important to block pornographic and malicious sites, but when youtube, twitter, and other potentially beneficial sites are blocked as well it becomes too much.
Learning how to navigate the web is imparitive in today’s society, and if our students only get the “school safe” side of the web growing up, they will turn into some pretty ignorant adults.
I learned to be critical of online phishing at a young age through an old online game called Runescape. Trying to get some good in game stuff, I fell for an account stealing ploy that left me pretty devistated. Now looking back I only lost about $20 and the time I put into the game, but if I had learned that lesson at a later date, it could have been so much more.
Learning comes from mistakes and failures, as well as success. Not allowing our students to fail online takes half of their learning from them. Of course it is important to protect them from the dangers online, but teaching them how to handle those situations and how to be critical of everything goes a lot farther than just isolating them from it all. They will encounter it eventually, teaching them what to do when the time comes is our duty.