The Internet Parent
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Juneau Schools Take Step in the Right Direction

Unlike DOPA, a Sensible, Measured Approach. But...

The Associated Press reported on July 19th that the Juneau School District has decided to block four online social networking sites, including MySpace, on school property. Into the bin along with MySpace went Xanga, Friendster, and Facebook.

"In examining it, we decided the social networking sites did not have any educational purpose. They were strictly social," said Superintendent Peggy Cowan.

Now, THERE'S a sensible attitude. How simple.

And yet, it took nine months for this very practical solution to emerge. That's the frustrating and inexcusable part. We HAVE to get our act together faster than this. Nine months is, like, 5 1/2 Dog Years, and about the same in Internet time. If we wait that long to implement a policy this straight-forward in response to emerging Internet behavior, we'll have sacrificed a whole generation of kids on the alter of institutional torpor.

The article goes on to say, "The district will not be able to police all sites that might become popular..."

I say, "WHY THE HECK NOT?" Tracking and monitoring software is fundamental to virtually every filtering solution out there. This is NOT hard stuff. Parents, you need to demand more. Administrators, you need to kick it up a notch. Community organizations, you need to help raise awareness and make this a community issue. Again, the technology to track where the school computers are going is readily available.

Come on, folks! Let's raise our game. Excuses are for those who are too torpid to protect their kids and their communities.


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