The approach I have been recommending
- One of my very wonderful friends on this list asked for the source of the
statement I said I made in 2003. In fact, it was 2002.
But I made much the same statement in 2000.
So if you are into a little bit of light reading over the holiday break,
here is the statement I made to the National Research Council in 2000
http://csriu.org/documents/nwnas.php. I made the same statement to the COPA
Commission slightly earlier.
And here is a link to that book, I self-published in 2002.
Ignore the "honortext" portion. I made the book available online and sought
some resources from its distribution. The introduction section lays out the
approach I have been recommending for a very long time.
Here are some statements from that:
The Internet has emerged in the last decade as an extremely important
conduit for information and communications. The objective of schools is to
prepare students for active and effective participation in society. The
information and communication resources of the Internet have become an
essential component of this preparation. Schools are uniquely positioned to
serve as the primary vehicle through which young people can develop the
knowledge, skills, and motivation to use the Internet in a safe,
responsible, and effective manner.
No technology protection measure is or ever will be 100% effective in
protecting young people from exposure to material that is potentially
harmful. There is simply too much material on the Internet, with more
material posted every second, for any technological system to be truly
effective. Virtually every young person will, at one time or another, have
unsupervised access to the Internet through an unfiltered, unblocked, and
unmonitored system. Any time a technology is created that seeks to block
access to material, another technology will emerge to get around such
blocking actions. Technically proficient young people can easily obtain
information on effective strategies to get around these systems.
It can be expected that young people are going to have superior technical
skills than most adults. But adults are responsible for imparting the
knowledge, skills, and values that are essential for young people to learn
to make safe and responsible choices.
We, as society, are too often willing to believe that a technological "quick
fix" will solve the problem. When we believe in the sufficiency of the
technological "quick fix," we fail to engage in the more important actions
that are necessary to effectively address the underlying concerns. Far too
many decision-makers, educators, and parents believe in a myth -- that the
installation and use of a "technology protection measure" will protect
children against access to potentially harmful material and people on the
Internet. The unfortunate result of the belief in this myth is false
security, which leads to complacency, which results in the failure to
adequately protect our children by preparing them to use the Internet in a
safe and responsible manner.
This is not to say that there is no role for technology tools in the
establishment of an environment that supports the safe and responsible use
of the Internet by young people. Technology can be used to establish safe
spaces for younger students, and to reinforce accountability on the part of
older students. The major concern is that a strategy that places primary
reliance on technological "quick fixes" will fail to address the far more
important issues of education and supervision.
The recommendations set forth in these materials are grounded in knowledge
of effective parenting and educational strategies. When children are to
young to comprehend dangers and make safe choices, we keep them in safe
places and closely supervise their activities. We teach them how to
recognize and deal with potential dangers lessons that expand as they grow
and face new situations. We also teach them about our positive expectations
for their behavior. As children grow, we allow them increased freedom. We do
not expect that teens will be willing to remain in fenced play yards. But we
also remain engaged ³hands-on² through ongoing communication and
supervision, and, when necessary, appropriate discipline.
These same strategies provide the foundation for a comprehensive approach to
address Internet dangers and concerns and the use of the Internet in school.
Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)