A Balancing Act
Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor. - Arnold Toynbee
We continually strive for the state of equilibrium in all aspects of our lives, though the successful end product is often somewhat elusive. Teaching our students to best navigate the obstacles of life requires both guidance for the desired path and latitude for potential letdown. The internet offers an array of knowledge opportunities for living and for learning - it also masks hidden dangers. Parents, teachers and other mentors are responsible for helping students navigate the internet for the nourishing morsels of knowledge, for alerting students to the ethical responsiblities of the 'information highway', and for coping with unexpected and possibly unsolicited networking conversations. Though most adults wouldn't think of giving the car keys to a teenager without some driving instruction, the computer and its internet connectivity are provided without education or conversation.
In a future post, I will recommend some tips for effective digital citizenship; but, for now, I would encourage discussion with our students. Opening the door for that communication will provide an element of trust, one of the first ingredients for creating and maintaining harmony. One extreme or the other of most continuums is usually not a healthy solution, but 'the balancing act' can illuminate many viable passageways!
photo by ghewgill at flickr