Many schools throughout Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States filter online content with servers. “Internet-related risks commonly mentioned as threats to children include the risk of exposure to sexually inappropriate content; exposure to negative or intolerant beliefs and attitudes; cyber-bullying; contact with unwanted strangers; and access to inaccurate information” (Moyle, 2012, p.404). Whilst I acknowledge that malicious use of the Internet exists and the desire of educators to protect students from ‘harmful’ online material, are we over protecting our students? “Should schools be environments that are so safe and secure, learners cannot innovate, risk-take or learn behaviours that will help them navigate the real world when they leave the school gates?” (Moyle, 2012, p.405).
The Australian Curriculum General Capabilities, support students’ development and application “of ICT knowledge, skills and appropriate social and ethical protocols and practices to investigate, create and communicate, as well as developing their ability to manage and operate ICT to meet their learning needs”. Therefore, we should be leaning towards self-regulation off line behaviours rather than choosing automated electronic filters, or at least ‘loosening’ the level of restrictions. Educators should be placing an emphasis on the concept of building trust with their students as creators, facilitating online collaboration, innovation and creativity (Moyle, 2012).
Below is a new video created called ‘Rules on the Road’ by CommonSenseMedia.org.
Moyle, K. (2012) Filtering Children’s Access to the Internet at School, ICICTE Proceedings, p. 403-412.