Oversight needed to change attitudes
Out-of-control students, misbehaving teachers and digital media were topics of news stories this week in Ohio. There is something everyone – especially parents – should realize in the wake of these reports.
The students include two Steubenville High School football players convicted of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. But the case also shines a spotlight on, and invites condemnation of, actions by classmates who used digital media to share images and texts about the assault yet somehow failed to recognize it as a crime, or even immoral.
And adults aren’t entirely innocent, either. The Dayton Daily News reported this week state records show a sharp rise in the number of accusations of teacher misconduct. The number of conduct-unbecoming cases reported to the state increased from 250 in 2007 to 754 in 2011. Problems include lewd text messages and inappropriate posts on social media sites.
We’re not railing against the electronic interconnected world in which we live. Social networks revealed the crime in Steubenville, and Internet activism helped make sure it wasn’t ignored.
But that wired world also is the real world. It has become more difficult for parents to allow their children the latitude to make the kinds of mistakes typical of youths before discussions and discipline correct their errors.
Today, that wired world can lure youngsters beyond parental control without the kids even leaving the house. The lack of a filter on digital communications puts even more pressure on adults to provide the oversight needed to help youths navigate their way to adulthood.
Kids may not “like” it; they may not see a parent as their “friend.” But the alternative is embarrassment at best and life-altering – or life-ending – incidents at worst.