I really don’t have a problem with the Virginia state legislature passing a bill that makes it mandatory for schools to teach safe practices on the Internet. I think it’s a shame that schools have to be told to do this, but there’s no doubt that every kid needs to get straight about what he or she should and should not do when navigating the Net. Too many of them aren’t hearing it at home.
But I still think the biggest issue facing our kids when it comes to the Internet is not safety as much as it is basic Web illiteracy among students AND teachers. I’m more worried about the fact that thousands of kids are going to believe much of the junk they read on the Internet without any thought about who is posting it our why. Case in point, which I’ve used before, is the Stormfront (White Aryan Nation) site about Martin Luther King. I know I have voiced my astonishment time and again about how few teachers I meet are able to identify the owners of a particular Website. It happened again recently where only two or three hands went up out of over 100 educators when I showed the site and asked who knew how to find the domain registration.
Why don’t we write law requiring teachers and students to learn about that?