Connected Learning

Learning Is About Connections Of All Kinds…

DOPA Is Well-Intentioned, But, Well, DOPEY

I’m going to share several links below on this topic, because its all more eloquent than I could come up with, but I will share the following thoughts.

First of all, I understand the desire to protect kids, but totally shutting things off isn’t going to solve the problem. Kids will still access social networking sites, on their own time, with little or no guidance from adults. In fact, telling kids (or adults) they can’t do something is often a guaranteed way to make them want to do said thing. Remember how well Prohibition worked? Yeah, that’s effective education.

Brian Crosby’s reprisal of a DOPA article he wrote earlier this summer hits the nail on the head – there are many things that we have or let our kids do that present a risk, but we EDUCATE them on how to do said activity responsibly. Read his article, it is terrific.

Wes Fryer has inquired at his church to consider taking a proactive measure at addressing the issue rather than sticking their fingers in their ears and using the “la la la I am not listening if I just say you can’t do it the problem will go away” method. If they do, bravo to them for DOING something rather than just SAYING something.

There is an anti-DOPA petition online called Save Your Space – thanks to David Warlick’s Two Cents Worth blog I spotted it. And Andy Carvin has set up DOPA Watch – an aggregator that will use Technorati and Goolge News to find items that refer to DOPA.

It is obvious that most of our legislators have no idea of the power of the interactive web with tools like blogging, social networking, and “older” methods such as message boards and such. I, in the very short time I have been a part of this world of active engagement, have not only found a place where I can converse and debate a myriad of topics (ranging from ed tech to college basketball), but also a place where I can give MY voice a pedastal. Don’t you think our students deserve a chance to find their voice in this way too? Wouldn’t you rather it be done in a way that provides them guidance?

If you are a parent and you have fears about this unfamiliar world, my suggestion is to get in that world, if for no other reason to check on what your kids might be doing or sharing (you might find you enjoy it, too). Far too many kids seem to think that posting to their MySpace or Xanga site is a private matter and that adults don’t “belong” there or won’t know enough to find what they are writing. Some seem to not totally get that publishing something on the web makes it available to the whole online world, which tells me they need GUIDANCE. They want to communicate in this cool new way, we need to make sure they get their sea legs and know how to handle themselves properly as good digital citizens in the transparency of the online world. Which, by the way, is a world they will live in for their entire adult lives. A world in which we are still in the Christopher Columbus stages, a vast unknown with risks to be sure, but also with riches of the imagination that we might hardly be able to fathom at this early, perhaps revolutionary, point in the information age.

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July 31, 2006 Posted by | DOPA, Legislation, Social Networking | Leave a comment