I think “the studies” show that whatever problems accompany these online spaces, they’re almost always extensions of what’s happening in face-to-face communication. In other words, it’s not the tools – after all, they’re just communication mediums like telephones, paper, etc. – but the students. If students are struggling with issues, those issues manifest themselves in both face-to-face and online environments. Similarly, if we can help students thrive and learn to be mature adults in face-to-face settings, there’s no reason we can’t do the same in online settings, no?
You say that we have ‘given away the youth’ of our children. Our children spend a much longer extended adolescence than they did at any time before the early 1900s, before which our ‘children’ were essentially treated as adults and put to work, married off, etc. in their early teens. This phenomenon of adolescence – and our expectations and notions about it – is pretty new historically.
I guess the biggest problem I have is with the notion of a blanket ban (i.e., all kids this age can’t handle it). In other areas of student life / discipline – including bullying, cheating, harassing, inappropriate speech or conduct, and so on – we assume most students will behave appropriately and then deal with the many fewer that don’t. Why wouldn’t we do that in this arena instead of a blanket prohibition?
Thanks for the note and the conversation. Much appreciated.
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