Kids + Technology = ?

In the past week, there has been a lot in the news regarding kids, particularly teens, and social media. If the sensational story about 8 teens in Florida was the first that you had heard of teens videotaping their own violent acts or fights, I hate to tell you that it is (unfortunately) more pervasive than you think.

As someone who taught for 10 years, I have many friends who are still teachers. One friend, who teaches middle school in Ohio, lamented the fact that fighting has dramatically increased in her building and that many of the fights were being orchestrated for the sole purpose of being posted on YouTube.

So- what do we do about the problem? The 8 teens in Florida are facing trials for a list of charges and will be tried as adults. But can the escalation of this "trend" be combated or discouraged? I tend to be an analytical person by nature, so I see this issue as incredibly multi-faceted and complex. There is no one root cause and therefore no one correct course of action or solution.

First in many people's minds will be, "who is to blame?" While the obvious answer might be the teens who chose to commit the crime (and record their own actions as evidence), there are many who will be quick to point at the evils influencing youth today. Of the parents in the Florida beating case, 1 has already defended their child by saying that the victim prompted the fight by bad mouthing others on MySpace. Whether the finger will be pointed at media, parents, teens, societal pressure, etc., etc., a lengthy debate is sure to ensue.

This blog could go on for pages and in many directions, but I have 2 things for you to think about:

What role should parents play in supervising their child's media use and/or enforcing guidelines for online social media sites?

and

How can schools and other educational institutions provide the education necessary for students to compete in a globally competitive, technology centric world while discouraging (or preventing) the misuse of technology?

I look forward to hearing your experiences, ideas and feedback. Thanks!

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