Monday, October 1, 2012

Child-Rearing Philosophy

The following italized quotes are from an article on regarding children and the internet.  Katie Rophe interviewed danah boyd, and honestly, because I don't know how to say it any better, I'll just put exclamation points on her ideas (all formatting mine):

The idea of shutting out sex for as long as possible, protecting kids by not exposing them to it, may not be the perfect solution. "My feeling is that we do a disservice to young people by setting up pornography as forbidden 'adult' materials, thus making them hugely desirable. From my perspective, we need to prep young people to critically encounter this material long before they do." Her argument that we should give them the apparatus to interrogate this material, rather than subscribing to the fantasy that we can shield them from it.


And in fact, she argues that, on close examination, many of our cultural anxieties about what happens to kids online are based more on parents' imaginations than the realities of teenage experience. (Take what she argues are the exaggerated fears of cyber-bullying for instance, or fears of sexual predators online, when the vast preponderance of sexual predators are people kids know in their daily lives.)


The important thing, boyd points out, is to give the kid the ability to handle choices, assess risks, and take what she calls "strategic" risks, or calculated risks. You want, in other words, to create the kid who can handle the Internet without you. And how can they become that kid if you are watching them all the time, if you are always hovering right there next to them? She says, "You don't just throw a 5-year-old out on the streets and tell her to figure it all out. The same is true online. But, equivalently, you can't expect to put under surveillance and control every action a child makes until she's 18 and then magically assume she'll be fine off at college when she hasn't had any experience managing her own decisions."


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