Triple filtered for extra purity

 

Archimedes

Archimedes

The BBC featured a story about schools’ internet security this morning – as I understand it, students are able to get past all sorts of filters that are put in place so they can go on their crazy, brain-corrupting social networking sites. And even download nudie pictures!

 

Well, duh.

Kids are always going to be smarter than those clunky, prudish safeguards on our sanity and moral health. The thought has come to my mind today, particularly – I’ve just had a new work PC installed and now I can’t get Flash. Head drops to table. Am I not trusted? Am I not capable of doing things myself? Do I have to suffer draconian downloading rules because of the ineptitude and general ignorance of others? Yes, I do.

When I was growing up, we had a BBC computer at school, and we – with no prior knowledge – quickly mastered how and why it worked, and beat Pod. Then at secondary school, a jingling, bumptious, bearded man harangued as to the dubious virtues of the Acorn Archimedes, with its extra mouse button and, ooh, next generation, RISC OS. We worked that out fairly quick, Mr Eagles. 

I only started using a PC at home towards the end of secondary school, and then more at college, where I once again contravened the safety and privacy rules with scant regard or worry. Thanks to PC Format magazine and a flagrant disregard for my parents’ property I was soon partitioning the hard drive and fiddling with regedit. These aren’t the causes of worry for today, though (bearing in mind that my experiences were pre- even the slowest internet). Because so what: if someone is caught downloading porn, you punish them for it, swift and hard – there’s no point screwing up the usability of everybody elses’ computers for the sake of the one or two bad kids. Kids will always circumvent the rules – it’s what kids are for. And because they’ve grown up in the next generation (just one generation, honest) to me, they’re not only PC savvy but they’re web savvy and Web 2.0 savvy from the get go, which means that tired out computer nerds and embittered policy makers just can’t compete.

Surely someone can sort something out which means that kids won’t do what they’re not supposed to on computers, not just can’t. You take away a bad thing, you have to replace it with a good, or you’ve got even more trouble on your hands. My educator buddies know this, and exploit it – so why this arcane attitude continues to prevail, well. I don’t know.

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3 Responses

  1. Hello fellow freecycler- Just read your comment on my blog.

    I like your blog, though I have to disagree that replacing something good with something “bad” will satisfy kids’ desire to hack into places they shouldn’t go, especially when it comes to accessing facebook or bebo. I think the forbidden will always be desirable, especially to teenagers.

  2. Well that’s true enough I guess. Still, I’m sure if you can occupy kids’ (anyone’s!) attention enough, then these things won’t be a problem. I guess my solution would not be to ban things like this but to utilise them – I know teachers whose use of things like customisable wikis, podcasting, even social networking do great things.

  3. […] hard to be a saint in the city Posted on February 25, 2009 by ohsimone I’ve gone on a bit before about school’s blocking access to certain sites, and while I’m grateful that […]

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