Scott Alan Miller

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Response to an Anti Blogger

I was doing some research on people who were talking about the school that has banned blogging and I came across a parent, not a parent of a child at that school, who thought that it was probably a good idea and that they wanted to, but did not, keep their own children from using the Internet altogether. She also thought that no one ever read her blog. So that fact that I commented on it probably did not convince her of the safety of blogging. But she also was apparently not aware of how to be safe with blogs herself as she had far too much personal information posted on her blog about herself. Now, she might have made that information up. But that is probably not the case. Anyway, here is my response to her:

But isn't the real issue here that students should be taught not to post personal information in public areas regardless of the technology involved? If those students took pictures of themselves and wrote their phone numbers and address on them and posted them around the town that would be far more dangerous than doing the same on the Internet. The reality is that students need to be educated not to do that anywhere. Don't talk to strangers and all of that. Don't COMMUNICATE with strangers.

Blogging has nothing to do with posting personal information. Like any communication medium it CAN host personal information. Or it can be a format for commenting on news items, reviewing movies, telling fictional stories, providing access to a novel as it is being written, poetry, just about anything you can imagine. Personally, I blog a lot. I have been blogging for over five years. I have several blogs, a few with regular readership. I podcast as well and have up to forty people listen a day. Now, I am an older, male blogger who isn't afraid of having a decent amount of personal information available on the Internet. I am totally aware of the risks and act accordingly as an adult. Children must be far more careful but if we don't teach them to be careful doesn't that do the most harm?

What will happen when those children MUST use modern forms of communication for college, for work, for a normal life? It may not sound normal to those of us who grew up without it. But to children today the Internet is simply the entire world of communication. Not blogging today is getting closer and closer to being the kid whose parents had no telephone when we were kids. Think about how you would feel if that was YOU. You would probably run out and get a party line the day you turned eighteen. And very little on the Internet has ever come close to the dangers of the telephone party line.

The Internet allows a lot of anonymity. But if we chose to over shelter our kids and do not let them know how to be safe - how will they ever know with experimenting. And safety is not an area to learn from mistakes. Best to learn by example. Leave learning by mistake for things like bicycles.


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