Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What's with the name of this blog?

I came up with the concept of a "Digital Latchkey Kid" in a roundabout way. A colleague forwarded me the June 8 issue of Stephen Downes' OLDaily newsletter, which included a link to a recent story about San Diego area school officials trying to monitor student activity on MySpace. I took exception to his comment "Instead of trying to hide everything again by blocking MySpace, or to punish people after the fact, why not ask, 'what would lead a student to think that this is appropriate?' .” I suggested that kids are doing what kids do, which is behave as they see others behave, in this case an assortment of adults and kids behaving badly.

Stephen was nice enough to use some of my comments in a follow up posting on his “Half an hour” blog. One of his comments was "Far better they interact in an environment that can be monitored and watched very easily by parents and police." And my reply was “But what if there's no one watching? A new ‘digital latchkey kid’.”

So there you have it – just as some kids come home to an empty house, we are witnessing a relatively new phenomenon of kids spending hours on the network, unmonitored by their parents, who, most being some variation of Marc Prensky’s “digital immigrants”, have no context or basis upon which to determine what is an appropriate amount of time to spend, and what sort of activities or places they should be most concerned about.


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