If this article doesn’t make you want to pull your kids out of school and go find an igloo in the Arctic tundra, I don’t know what will.
Writer Jan Hoffman highlights a ninth grade boy whose schoolmates secretly created a Facebook identity for him, making him into a bully and causing classmates and friends to ostracize him because of it. After no help from the school, his mother eventually went to the police.
It is difficult enough to support one’s child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully’s identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.
Desperate to protect their children, parents are floundering even as they scramble to catch up with the technological sophistication of the next generation…
Hoffman’s article focuses on the need for parents to get up to speed on technology so they can better monitor what their kids are doing. Not a bad idea, but why isn’t anyone asking more fundamental questions, such as:
- Why should kids have their own cell phones in the first place (which they use primarily for texting, photos, and email — and not phone calls)?
- Why isn’t cell phone use banned on school premises?
- Why aren’t there collaborative campaigns between teachers and parents to make sure kids are using computers under supervision and primarily for educational purposes?
- Why are children permitted to have Facebook accounts?
I could go on with the questions. There’s only one reason for a kid to ever have a cell phone: for an emergency. And there’s never a reason for a child to use a computer unsupervised.