Friday, July 28, 2006

DOPA - kids get it, grown ups don't

Vicki coolcatteacher Davis posted a wonderful piece about DOPA. What I found the most compelling was the quote she included from one of her students. Here is what that student wrote, in its entirety:
I first heard about DOPA from my computer science teacher, who made us pick which side we were on and blog about it. Even intially I disagreed although I didn’t really know what DOPA was I knew it wasn’t a good thing. After digging a little deeper I found out that DOPA, which stands for Deleting Online Predators Act, esstenially is trying to ban the use of social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, etc. along with things like IM and blogs from schools and public libraries, because some lawmakers feel that by taking away these sites children will be safer from the horrors of the Internet. Children will still have access to these sites at home unless the parents’ take it into their own hands like they should and prevent their children from doing foolish things out of ignorance. The only way to protect children from online predators is to arm them with the information to protect themselves. In fact, probably the best place for kids to have access to these sites is in school where they can be monitored. Not to mention all the educational benefits that come from these sites these lawmakers are trying to ban. Wikis are the new way to do classroom collaboration. Blogs are the new way to do classroom discussion. So no, DOPA is not protecting the children, in fact, all it is doing is hurting them by continuing to promote the idea that ignorance is bliss. These kids are ignorant of how to protect themselves from Internet predators. These lawmakers need to ban ignorance not promote it.
Vicki has since been picked up by CNN and Techcrunch - fantastic! However, at this writing, some of the comments left on the Money site display well, not as much understanding as I would hope. There is so much more work to do. As always, it's about education - but it's not the kids this time - they get it. It's the grown ups who need to go back to school.

Vicki has just posted What's Wrong with DOPA, an in depth look at the bill, with plenty of commentary, of course.

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