Raising babies is insane. The complete deprivation of sleep and non-stop decision making causes parents permanent memory loss of the entire experience as if we’ve been flashed with the neuralyzer from Men In Black. I’m convinced this is the only way most of us parents are able to come back for more and have a second / third / fourth / etc… Anything to make the process easier becomes a gift from heaven, especially things like the baby gate! However, in a two story house, raising two children, we never had a baby gate. In full disclosure, it was partly because I was always “too tired” to put them up, but we also believed in house proofing the baby over baby proofing the house, as much as possible.
Fast forward five years and our schools receive those same children, entering a partnership with the parents to keep them safe from internal and external threats. And the easiest way to protect these littles from external digital danger is to throw up the baby gate of the internet...the web filter. However, at some point, kids need to learn how to navigate the web in a safe manner, on their own, without a gate. The longer we shield our kids from reality, the less prepared they will be for it as they move into later years of their lives.
Our teachers, the classroom warriors, are so great at teaching, and they are mightily capable of teaching more than their content. Although today’s reality of lawyers and litigation looms over every big school or district wide decision, we need to hand over the reigns to our teachers, as early as possible, to teach responsible and safe web behavior. With the gates up, students are deprived of early digital citizenship growth, and teachers are handcuffed to only a fraction of the teaching tools that exist in our wonderful world wide web.
So, in the holiday spirit of giving… let’s take away this learning barrier and give our students and teachers the freedom to explore and learn. If we take down the internet baby gates, shifting from student proofing the web to web proofing the student, our kids will be more prepared to climb safely out of our nest padded walls and soft gloves to responsibly navigate the entire world of digital opportunities.