Chris Lehmann offers a great entry reflecting on a New York Times article about how a growing number of kids are aiming for celebrity by doing inappropriate things and posting the pictures on the web.
Pandora’s Box is open, and kids are finding these sites and more of them are contributing to them than we’d like. What do we do?
One, this reinforces, to me, the need to teach wisdom. To teach students about these tools and how to use them responsibly. We have no choice but to teach students to own the stories they tell about themselves and to consider thoughtfully and powerfully the way in which they allow their online persona to be created — much like we would talk to them about the way they portray themselves offline. We cannot pretend these things aren’t happening, and we cannot pretend that the curriculum of schools cannot teach kids about all of this. We have to be smart, caring mentors to students as we ask them to deeply consider the way they live their lives, because the stakes, it seems to me, are getting higher.
Teaching wisdom and responsibility? That’s a tall order. And one that requires a fundamental alteration of our concept of education in this country.
However, as Chris also points out, schools cannot do this alone, especially since students spend more time out of the classroom than in.
We must educate and involve parents in ways that go way beyond the traditional school-family relationship.
Possibly we need to go even farther.
But I am starting to wonder about the entire notion of “the teenager” and if time has come to re-evaluate what that term means and signifies as a society.