Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Schools block MySpace access; kids fight back

Schools are cracking down on access to social networking sites like MySpace in an attempt to make time spent in a computer lab profitable

That seems like a no-brainer. After all, schools have always had the ability to keep materials that the school or teacher thought were distracting away from students. In my case, I can remember a novel I was sneaking a peak at being taken away, as was a crossword puzzle. You can only imagine what a snorer the class was! I only wish that I had a computer when I was in school even with MySpace blocked from my inquiring mind.

What is a little more interesting is the Libertyville school where students in extracurricular programs can be disciplined for what they post on their own time that is considered illegal or inappropriate. "Illegal" should be pretty easy to define. "Inappropriate" is more of a judgment call. I hope that the guidelines are publicized and very clear or that the students get a warning and a chance to remove "inappropriate" before they are disciplined. I'm afraid, given recent history in schools, that is will be an extension of zero tolerance. The good news is that the schools won't be patrolling the Web.

Also, will any measures be taken to assure that the student named really posted the material that is in question? This seems like it would be a very easy way to "frame" someone you didn't like by posting Web content in their name. After all the Web is such a secure place (not). I'm not sure that school administrators will be perusing ISP logs to determine the truth or who posted what when and where. It will be up to students (and parents footing legal fees) to prove themselves innocent in some cases. It could be a lot of time lost and reputations ruined falsely for some students. Enough of that goes on in high school low tech -- like writing on the bathroom wall. I can imagine this rule resulting in some high-tech sabotage.

I can see both sides and there are no good answers, but with school rules just like the criminal justice system, I'd rather see the guilty go free than see one innocent person harmed.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. The last read I saw on a school blocking myspace was because it was using too much bandwidth.


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