Another gem from Cynthia Lieberman and Diana (the CyberWise team), It’s Time to Stop Letting Fear Interfere With Youth Online Freedom (by Larry Magid), is a well-expressed plea to not lock everything down and to enable young people to express themselves online.
Schools are blocking the very media that young people are using to express themselves and communicate with others. It’s also one of the ways people learn and is the virtual gathering place for today’s social activists. Schools that block social media today are no different than schools that blocked political speech during the sixties. Today’s educators may think they’re protecting students and keeping them on track just as some adults in the sixties argued that political speech — including protesting the Vietnam war and advocating for civil rights — was an unnecessary distraction for students of that generation.
The fact is that the open Internet has been used by young people since the early nineties and those early digital natives — now in their mid to late 20s — seem to be doing OK, despite the ready availability of online porn, drug sites, hate sites and sites advocating all sorts of social evils. My own kids — now 26 and 28 — had unfettered access to the Internet during their teens and both — along with nearly all their peers — are well adjusted normal young adults.
The skills to understand how to communicate well, stay safe, and think critically about what they are encountering, Magid emphasises, are essential. He also advises that we “can have a big impact by listening to, speaking with and supporting the young people in our lives and have an even more lasting impact by serving as good role models”.
You can read the complete post here: It’s Time to Stop Letting Fear Interfere With Youth Online Freedom.
- Magid: Cyberbullying less common than many people think (mercurynews.com)