More on Social Networking for Kids

Thanks to all who responded to my last post.  I’d like to try to summarize the responses, which wove threads into the same fabric:  we are being over-protective:

1.  There is a difference between safety and literacy.  Children must learn to survive in this new culture they themselves are creating.  Ignorant children cannot grow up to make informed decisions. Let us promote literacy.  An informative model of e-safety in the UK covers content, contact and commerce.  Digital literacy is one key for children’s safety.  Technical safeguards provide other safety for data and transactions.

2.  There is a difference between institutional safety and child safety.  Let us be clear as to when we are concerned about lawsuits and when we believe it is unsafe for kids.  Rather than locking down the environment under the umbrella of child safety, perhaps we should be investing our energy in preparing our teachers to be good stewards of the environment.  Which leads to point #3..

3.  Modeling is essential.  Our most important work is with teachers, so that they may model appropriate behaviour in an online environment.  And let’s not stop there – our work needs to include parents as well.So thank you again for the thoughtful responses.I would like to re-visit the other dimension to the security issue I raised – that being the security of the technology environment that is provided for schools to use.   One comment suggested that firewalling between the data and student environments solved the issue.  I wish it were as simple.  I’ll discuss this further in a future post! 

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One Response

  1. “One comment suggested that firewalling between the data and student environments solved the issue.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that firewalling “solved the issue” but only to point out that we often confuse system security with user security. The only way to make a system totally secure is to make it totally unusable. The balance is the bugaboo. As a system admin myself, I know only too well the limitations and liabilities of firewalls.

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