Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 15-12-2017

I am sure since the time of the very first child, parents have said “Just take the **** away from that kid”.  Every child has misused a pencil, scissors, toy, or something that has caused a parent to respond with these words.  Recent history has just added to that list these sometimes troublesome possessions: computer, cell-clipart-no_cell_phones_allowed_clip_art_16863Xbox, internet, and cell phone.  What are parents to do, it can be frustrating.

Kids mess up, it is a guarantee.  Commonly some of these mistakes are due to how and when students use their technology.  It is almost a given that in our schools every child 5th grade to 12th child has at their disposal, either at home or at school, a computer, an iPad or surface device, and probably also a cell phone.  It is mind boggling for parents to keep up with the ever increasing ways a child can access the internet or communicate online.  **Parenting Tip – heads up for that new game system under the tree **  Apps are being added to the online stores daily that make communication easier, quicker, and sometimes almost impossible for parents to monitor.  With these technologies also come opportunities for mistakes.  Kids may mistakenly use them to bully, cheat, or harass.  After that happens parents, in frustration, may say “Take those **** away”!  I get it, I have felt the same way.

In school we have had parents ask us to block Facebook, because a child has posted an inappropriate picture.  Parents have asked us to remove all ipads because their child went to a site that was not felt to be appropriate.  Fathers have come in and asked us to have every child drop their cell phone at the door when they come to school because of a harassing text.  I get it.. these are frustrating problems that want us to just pull the plug.  But, pulling the plug is not that easy and may not be the right course of action in the long term.  Banning a site in school, such as Facebook does not fix the problem when 99% of 5th-12th grade students possess a cell phone that does not need our network.

Now before you get to far ahead of me, I am not referring to disciplining a child by removing their technology as a form of punishment.  I believe a cell phone has a tremendous power over our kids so putting it on the shelf a few days when something goes wrong is not a bad thing.  What I am referring to is the belief that is we only blocked or disallowed a form a technology for everyone all the time, then these problems would not happen.  The problem of sending an inappropriate text may not take place but would we have taught our kids how to communicate properly.  Because commonly the ways kids make mistakes with technology are the same ways we could make mistakes without technology.  Regardless if it is a text or a paper note, kids can be mean and not considerate to others.  The post on imagesFacebook or the message scratched in a bathroom stall can both be equally inappropriate and hurtful.  The risque pictures on a web site are the same we used to find in magazines.   Kids will make mistakes, and when they do, we need to teach them.

Parents, educators, everyone needs to help our children understand the importance of acceptance, tolerance, and compassion.  When we teach our students about these values it does not matter if it is a paper note, a cell phone, or some technology that we have not even heard of yet.  The values we have instilled will adapt to every situation.  Parenting is a tougher job than it has ever been.  I cannot encourage parents enough to monitor their child’s online access.  I personally, believe a cell phone is like a closet in a bedroom – “It is my house, I bought it, so I will look in your (closet/cell phone) if I feel I need to”.  But, when you find something that is inappropriate and you will, remember that these are your opportunities to educate.