wasting bandwidth since 1999

Educating Our National Nannies

Writing on cbs.com, Larry Magid argues that the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) recently passed by the House is the wrong approach to child safety on the web, calling it “well-meaning but ill-conceived”.

I’m not generous enough to give the sponsors of this mess the “well-meaning” part. But I certainly agree with Magid that the law will result in far more penalties for kids than it will be for the predators.

Even worse, however, is the way this proposal reinforces the concept of Congress as national nanny.

They, along with too many members of the American public, believe that any social problem can be eliminated with a wave of their legislative wand.

The only way to help students, teachers, and parents understand how to use the web safely is through education.

No electronic filter can shield kids from doing stupid things online. And telling teens anything is forbidden makes getting to it more of a challenge.

Of course, first we need leaders who understand the web. And educating them will be a much tougher task than teaching the kids.

dopa, internet safety, education


  1. TheBizofKnowledge

    I completely agree with your post. More often than not, legislation of this sort isn’t going to keep our kids safe. It’s definitely up to the parents to teach their kids about responsible web surfing, as well as the potential dangers that are always present.

  2. Diana King

    This morning I picked up the copy of Regulation 6410.6 (dated 7-10-06) published by our overly-large school system, and read through it. Mindful of your post, I was struck by several of the paragraphs in section IV (Responsibilities), to wit:
    F. Schools will educate students on personal safety practices and effective techniques for identifying and evaluating information and its sources….
    K. Schools will review the acceptable use policy with students and enforce rules of conduct necessary to foster appropriate student use of network resourses….
    Q. SS, IS, and IT will develop instructional and technological strategies for schools to provide students with reasonable protection from inappropriate internet content….

    I’ve been around this system for many years, and I can’t recall anything but hit-or-miss attenpts to come up with some kind of lessons to teach kids about internet safety.
    But I’m in middle school, so maybe there’s something done across-the-board in lower grades? Around here there’s just the annual lecture about “rights and responsibilities” (which deals with more than just the AUP); after that it’s up to individual teachers to address the issue or not.
    Tim, do you know if lessons have been created by anyone in IS and distributed to teachers at a particular grade level to be used with all students?

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