Sunday, March 25, 2007

Total Control - Students Can't Have MySpace Account At School Or Home

According to this report, and this report, it looks like it is time for Catholic school students in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, to rebel against infringement on their rights. The school is enforcing a new policy that bans the use of MySpace at school, or at home! And the school will even have employees monitoring the Internet to check on their students. (Yeah, like that's a good use of the kids' tuition money).

The school claims that the majority of parents approve of this measure. I would think that if the parents cannot control their kids and what they do at home or on the Internet - then what makes them think the school can, except to make demands with a consequence of denying admission to the school. What these kids need is to be educated about the dangers - not restricted in the use - of the Internet. What other sites will they be restricted from with the threat of dismissal from the school? Censorship is censorship.
"The Internet can be wonderful for educational material, but it also can be unsafe," principal Sr. Margaret Van Velzen said.
At the beginning of each school year, students and parents will be required to sign an Internet policy. The policy states that students enrolled at the school can't have a account or any similar type of personal site. "Students who have existing accounts must delete them. Students who do not delete their accounts cannot attend the school", Van Velzen said.

School officials said it was necessary to apply the new policy because recently there were adults, some in authoritative positions, who posing as minors were able to talk or meet with young boys and girls. OK, so they created their own "sting" operation. Maybe what they ought to have done is used those instances to educate the kids instead of punishing them with this edict. They ought to use the opportunity to show kids how vulnerable they can be. Maybe, instead of banning MySpace, they should have seminars on how to use it safely and correctly.

Van Velzen said the decision was made with full support from the school's parents' organization.
A St. Hugo parent, Liza Stanczak, said all schools should implement the policy
"I think this is just the beginning of schools taking a stand against this kind of thing," Stanczak said. "I think this is going to have to happen because things are getting out of hand."
Well goodness sakes, the world itself can be a wonderful place, but it is also unsafe. Should the kids stay in their homes for the rest of their lives? It is so stupid to think that MySpace is the problem!

This MySpace obsession that schools, and parents who are utterly clueless, have is absurd at best. If kids are getting raped and killed because they end up in hotel rooms it isn’t MySpace’s fault. Blame it on their out of touch parents and the stupidity of the little tramps and troublemakers that go off to meet people they don’t even know. MySpace already has plenty of controls. Kids with half a brain use them. Someone looking for trouble on the Internet can find it in many places besides MySpace. Idiot kids do not have my sympathy nor should they be the reason why the Internet should be policed. There are bad people everywhere and it’s primarily a parents responsibility to protect and teach their kids how to navigate their way in this world, not shut them out from it. If the kids refuse to listen then they just take their life into their own hands, which is what some seem to want to do anyway.

But good parenting aside, the main fact here is that schools are monopolizing kids' lives. They not only demand what the kids do at school, but now apparently they wish to control them outside of school. It's no different then if your boss making demands that you do not smoke or eat trans fats at home.

The entire education establishment, public and now private, has veered away from the real purpose of education. Instead of imparting knowledge they have created an institution which is more boldly indoctrinating specific ideas (like liberal agendas) such that they demand you practice what they preach outside of the school house doors.

Often there is also no distinction between home and family as teachers are known to call their students "their kids" and desire to create a "family environment". Just like you cannot be "a little pregnant' it seems you cannot be "merely enrolled in school" as they demand full participation all day and even after school with homework and school events and meetings. They want to be involved in all aspects of a child's home and family life now.

I see something inherently wrong here in that this type of thing trains kids to believe that they cannot do anything without someone else's consent. School is becoming the parent in far too many instances, and kids are being taught that total control by others is acceptable, instead of learning how to control themselves.


Gem said...

I would agree 100% with everything in this post IF it were a government school. The fact that is a private school changes everything in my opinion. Parents and perhaps even older students probably sign agreement with a certain code of conduct. I know as a student at a private Christian university, my at-home life -- even on Spring Break or summer vacation -- was subject to the rules. It sucked, but I signed on for it.

I would hate, however, for public school boards to see this and think that it's a good policy overall. The over-reacting part of your post is spot-on, as well as the alternate solutions you present.

Judy Aron said...

Thanks for your comment - yes I understand your point with it being a private school.. but I DO think that public schools WILL eventually adopt these rules as well. It's a matter of time, especially since public/government schools now also make kids and their parents sign certain "agreements" in the beginning of the school year.

With the CT Attorney General threatening lawsuits over MySpace, and this school taking this action I think that some people, and entities, are beginning to test the waters of Internet censorship.

Chris said...

Here's the MySpace page that this school's principal has:

Judy Aron said...

Chris: That is hilarious!
I doubt the Sister made that profile and it is against the rules for someone to make pages for other people...
but still this is wonderful. I particularly like the cartoon and caption.

Yvon said...

After reading your article and comments on it, I conclude that

…“No one can shield their children forever”. But what you can do is help them to interpret and properly deal with what they have seen, heard and done…

I strongly believe that Internet is the ‘’today’’ part of new technologies and like any powerful tool of nature, has to be managed and accessed properly to get real benefits out of it. And, only a combination of educational-guide tool and parental involvement is still the most effective way to keep our kids safe online…

As in the real world, parents set limits on where children can play depending on their age and maturity, keeping toddlers in the back yard, for instance, while letting teenagers roam…

That’s why we created AxylomClass ® a 2nd generation of Internet parent control software based on an innovative approach without exploiting standard technological filter, spying methods or censure approaches but with a Trust mode of navigation to develop a real parent-child communication.

AxylomClass ® lend a hand as parent to develop and to sustain self-governance, ethical and critical attitudes from yours children electronically connected to the world with a solid control on Internet clutter by creating your private Internet (Virtual Library).

Finally, to give them a reason to push aside all of that clutter and focus on reaching their true potential at home, in school and beyond