It is funny how the juxtaposition of things prompts analysis. On Thursday I was at the Derby City ICT Conference and listened to Becta’s Charlotte Aynsley talking to the assembled teachers about ‘Safeguarding children in a digital world’. She was very upbeat about the opportunities that being ‘digital’ opened up for teaching and learning while cautioning listeners to be vigilant and to educate the coming generations to be safe and secure. The crux of what she was saying seemed to me to be about necessary access to a digital world to make the best of educational opportunity (If I got this wrong Charlotte … sorry). I also picked up a copy of Becta’s latest document on AUP … ‘AUP in context – Establishing safe and responsible online behaviours’.
And then on Friday John Sutton’s daughter was not well ( hope she is on the mend now John) and he had time to blog about … Acceptable Use Policies … and this got cross referenced with the materials available on the Kent Trust Web Site that is really a must for all practitioners to read.
The continuation of this was that earlier today Allanah King in New Zealand puts forward the key point for me picking up on what John has said … John raises an interesting point in his post. By not allowing children access to the internet we are restricting children’s learning opportunities.
My point in all of this is that if John and Allanah have a point, and I think that they have, does it go further than this. Is there an entitlement for the children to have digital access to teaching and learning?
Article 13 of of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child states:
1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
The part of this that interests me here is ‘through any other media of the child’s choice’ and I just wonder how much (b) comes into play thus resorting to intervention rather than education?
Allanah says: Maybe a way forward is to inform parents of our policies and educate children proactively about safe internet use and just get on with it. I think that if we don’t get on with it then whole cohorts of children will miss out on educational, social, cultural and personal opportunities that should, in my view, be their entitlement. It is a dangerous world but we must educate to mitigate the dangers and move forward.