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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Dare You To Prove Me Wrong

Remember the title of the blog - Why Do You Ask?

I have a history of saying and demonstrating that it is not the answers you give, but the questions you ask that get you in trouble.

So, I anticipate "getting in trouble"...again.

Why is this okay from our local paper?
I DARE YOU TO LOOK, THEN CHECK YOUR OWN NEWSPAPER'S WEB SITE.

From the article that should send many online educators (who claim they are concerned for the safety of children) over the edge, up in arms, and filing lawsuits against editors across the country...and this happens every week, in every community.

Here is what I see in the article:
  1. The full name of a minor
  2. The age of the minor
  3. The town where the minor lives
  4. Two dates where anyone can know she will be
  5. The location where she will be
  • HOW SAFE IS THIS?
  • WHY ARE PARENTS POSITIVELY EXCITED WHEN THEIR CHILD GETS THIS TYPE OF PUBLICITY?
  • WHY DO WE ACCEPT THE DOUBLE STANDARD? FINE FOR NEWSPAPERS BUT DANGEROUS FOR SCHOOL WEB SITE? C'MON!
  • IS IT ONLY BECAUSE WE ARE FAMILIAR WITH ONE MEDIUM, BUT NOT THE OTHER (NEWSPAPER VS. WEB PAGE)?
  • ARE EDUCATORS THEIR OWN WORST ENEMIES WHEN IT COMES TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF WEB TECHNOLOGY?
YES, I AM YELLING! I WANT ANSWERS!

Give me your best shot. Convince me that I'm way off base.

Labels: ,

2 Comments:

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Jeff Newell said...

Ric,

I don’t care about the convince you part, but I see these distinctions:

First, online predators accomplish their goal through interaction with potential victims. They interact and build trust. A perv reading the paper has no way to build trust, making it a whole different proposition.

Second, minors have extremely poor judgment in how much information they routinely reveal online for the whole world to see (none of which was in the newspaper). And minors provide and discuss this freely without parentals' knowledge. With little MySpace research you could probably find enough info to get a good number of students in your school grounded, expelled or arrested.

Third, parents and minors involved in school or extracurricular activities that are bringing in media for publicity have the option to say no. If a family is operating under the radar because of a bad ex or something else, they don't have to sign the school waiver and the media can’t photograph them. There is an element of control that parents still have in the situation.

Now interestingly, when I clicked on your link to the article, under the picture of the girl and the caption was a link to this article: "BREAKING NEWS: Jury finds 'Predator' defendant guilty on all counts". Great irony.

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger Ric Murry said...

Thanks Jeff. My only respondent. I was going to move on thinking only I cared about the issue. Here are my thoughts on your thoughts.

JEFF: First, online predators accomplish their goal through interaction with potential victims. They interact and build trust. A perv reading the paper has no way to build trust, making it a whole different proposition.

RIC: The predator may be the local coach, boy scout leader, neighbor, who already has the "trust" of the family. Knowing the whereabouts of a minor child well in advance (as was/is the case in the article) allows the predator time to plan. Statistics still claim that well over 95% of adults crimes against children involve someone the family knows...not a stranger. I think the local paper (online) allows the predator enough time to create a level of trust in "preparation" for the event.

JEFF: Second, minors have extremely poor judgment in how much information they routinely reveal online for the whole world to see (none of which was in the newspaper). And minors provide and discuss this freely without parentals' knowledge. With little MySpace research you could probably find enough info to get a good number of students in your school grounded, expelled or arrested.

RIC: Fully agreed. However, my main point is a school web page rather than a student's personal page. I think schools have a moral obligation to inform and teach students and parents about things like MySpace/Facebook, and how to use the tools for good. The newspaper, in my mind does not equate with a personal web page, but could have great similarities with a school web site that was used for publicity of student achievement and activity.

JEFF: Third, parents and minors involved in school or extracurricular activities that are bringing in media for publicity have the option to say no. If a family is operating under the radar because of a bad ex or something else, they don't have to sign the school waiver and the media can’t photograph them. There is an element of control that parents still have in the situation.

RIC: Again, agreed. The situation on the article I used is likely a request by the dance studio or parent. Schools (at least most I know) do have a form students have signed at the beginning of each year about photography, name use, etc. But, many of the candid shots one sees in the paper are done without the pre-knowledge of the parent, student, coach, teacher. Yet they are published in the paper, and many times by default, find their way to the web site of the paper.

JEFF: Now interestingly, when I clicked on your link to the article, under the picture of the girl and the caption was a link to this article: "BREAKING NEWS: Jury finds 'Predator' defendant guilty on all counts". Great irony.

RIC: Thanks for catching the irony. That is something I hoped others would recognize. This was a huge story in our area. There is another one that has been brewing as well. This is part of my point. Newspapers seem to have the right to publish what schools are denied. My thinking, and hope, is that schools would be a more responsible choice for publicizing the activities of minors, but we are so restricted by our own fear that we allow our children to become potential victims when we say nothing of the activities of of sources of media. I have seen it in school sports for several years.

So I wonder, since adults are familiar with the medium of the newspaper that we give them a free pass as to what they do, even if it is potentially harmful to our young people. However, because schools do not traditionally have a clue how to publicize and produce a journalistic resource, those who try meet with resistance from parents who drool over seeing their child's name and picture in the paper.

 

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