Attention getting news item today posted by Andy Carvin and brought to my attention by David Warlick: “New Federal Legislation Would Ban Online Social Networks in Schools & Libraries.” According to Andy:
As reported by C|NET, the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA, would update the federal law that currently requires all schools and libraries receiving federal E-Rate money (the government program that subsidizes the cost of Internet access) to filter inappropriate websites. The amendment to the law would be even more specific, restricting access to interactive online communities.
According to the proposed legislation, the bill:
prohibits access by minors without parental authorization to a commercial social networking website or chat room through which minors may easily access or be presented with obscene or in- decent material; may easily be subject to unlawful sexual advances, unlawful requests for sexual favors, or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults may easily access other material that is harmful to minors.
How many read/write websites and technologies would be banned under this definition? Blogger? Flickr? Del.icio.us? Again in this situation we see the tension behind those supporting reactionary, statist responses and those supporting more dynamical and empowering approaches to conflict resolution. And again, conversations are the answer.
- We need (and should want) to protect our young people from predators and indecent materials – and –
- We need (and should want) to comply with US laws that are constitutional and moral.
But banning technologies cannot be our ONLY response to the reality of digital social networking by students and others! The answers to this and so many of the complex problems we face in society are not more technocratic, top-down legislated rules. People are the problem, and people are the solution.
How are we helping students learn to safely navigate digital social networking environments? Cheryl Oakes and teachers at Wells Elementary School are doing this with Think.com, as Cheryl discussed in my last podcast. But will legislation like this scare even more educators (and specifically administrators) from trying to help students, parents, and others learn about safe uses of these tools? I hope not, but that seems likely.
Should we ban pencils too? How about iPods? Are we going to stop teaching drivers’ education to teenagers? We have to prepare students for the real world, not just the fake world of the district managed LAN. I am not advocating that anyone break the law and ignore CIPA. But I am advocating for the responsible use of technology tools within a broader curriculum of digital citizenship.
Sadly, some digital immigrants just don’t seem to get it. Why do so many of these people seem to be policymakers?!
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On this day..
- K12 Online Echo Webcast TONIGHT with Brian Crosby! - 2010
- iPhone video trimming: Fast and functional - 2010
- iPad Sketching Conference Session Highlights - 2010
- links for 2008-05-11 - 2008
- Cell phone jammers at school? - 2007
- Enhanced podcasts and bandwidth - 2006
- What do I want to do? - 2006
- Choices are more problematic than tools - 2006