Are We Safer In The Dark?

You have a toddler at home. The street in front of your house could be dangerous. They could get hit by a car or picked up by a stranger. You’ve seen news stories about it on TV… in the paper … kids injured and kidnapped and killed in the street. Maybe it would be safer to not tell them about the street. Put a wall up outside so they can’t see it from the house – if they don’t know about it they won’t go near it you reason. At first it’s easy. They’re young and you keep them distracted from the street with toys and games and stories.

As they get older they see and hear about “the street “ on TV shows and from playmates. You continue to not talk about it or teach them about it – just avoid it…they’ll be safer. They begin to notice the street when you go places in your car, they even see other kids riding their bikes and sometimes playing games in the street. You explain that our family doesn’t do that or talk about that… we just don’t do the street… and you turn up the radio or put a DVD in the car player and distract them. They’re safer if we just avoid it and stay away from it. You’ve even talked to other parents that feel the same and heard talking heads on TV – some that are supposed to be “experts” that seem to agree with your tactic … stay away… stay away. The talking heads even have stories about what has happened to some that have ventured into the street. You are reassured in your decision.

You were right all along. The street could be a dangerous place. But Tommy’s mom didn’t know that your child had never been in or around the street before when he came over to play … was unaware of the dangers. The kids just went out to ride their bikes in the driveway. She said your child didn’t seem to know where the driveway ended and the street began. She had told them to stay on the driveway … only ride where it’s safe … but he didn’t seem to know what the danger even was. Like a flash he was in the street and the car just came along … he didn’t even seem to know to get out of the way, or what to do … or what might happen … or how to make a good decision about the street. You were right… it was dangerous… we should have done a better job of keeping him away.

Does this have implications for Flickr, Myspace, Classroom blogging? …. Are we safer in the dark?

Learning is messy!

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5 thoughts on “Are We Safer In The Dark?

  1. OR… Your child has known about the street and has been playing in the street for some time now. One day your child your child goes missing and you never think to check the street.

  2. Amen, brother! I couldn’t agree with you more. Regardless of how a person feels about educational technology, the Internet, and associated activities, our children & youth are there w/or w/o us. We have an ethical and moral obligation to teach them how to use this tool just as we teach them how to cross the street, drive a car, or all of the other things good parents and teachers do to make kids safe and well-educated.

  3. I agree with you and the response from Rebecca — we teach them about all of the other dangers in life — the streets and sidewalks, talking to strangers, etc. But when it comes to technology, we want to build walls between our children and these “new dangers”…

    If we “blocked” all of the things that make life unsafe for our children then we would all be living in… wow — it just occurred to me… we would end up out in the woods like in M. Night Shamalan’s movie, The Village.

  4. I totally concur with the original post, as well as with the comments left by Rebecca. Pretending that such things as MySpace don’t exist will not protect your children in the long run. It’s would be much more effective to teach them how to use these things responsibly.