Wilson Middle School students taught to use technology for good
Feb 23, 2013 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
In this digital age, technology as represented by television and the Internet must be used responsibly, and not as a tool for bullying others.
That was the message to students at Wilson Middle School from Craig LeCadre, special agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.
LeCadre, who works with the office's Education and Outreach Program, spoke to students about their roles as responsible citizens, and the disconnect between their generation and previous generations.
"You are all little digital babies ... but here is the problem, boys and girls, your parents are not," he told the sixth- through eighth-graders. "We are in a very, very unusual point in the history of the world ... everything you do thus far in your young lives is technically related. Most of your student-to-student communication needs are through text messages.
"Most of your entertainment needs are being met through YouTube, trained by television. Most of your socialization needs are being met through Facebook. Most of your recreational needs are being met through internet games. You are not getting adequate exercise, you are not learning team building skills out on those playgrounds like your parents did."
Because children are being raised with a growing number of technological advances, which allow them to interact with each other in different ways, LeCadre said it is crucial to teach children to use them responsibly.
"I wonder if you guys truly understand the importance of this communication device," he said, holding up his cellphone. "You are children, and you don't quite understand that this is a permanent record of all your activities."
LeCadre shared a video of a teenage girl who, while being bullied at school, wrote on a social media site about killing those responsible, and soon found herself in handcuffs.
"Those of us in law enforcement take threats in schools very seriously," he said. "We live in a very uncertain world. We now have children killing other children at school. We will not dismiss a threat."
LeCadre also discussed socialization skills, which he said many kids were not being taught at home.
"That is most critical when you come to this institution, to learn how to get along with your classmates, learn how to respect yourself and others, and a lot of that stuff is supposed to start at home, but we know otherwise, don't we " he said.
He shared another video, this time a story of a young man who committed suicide because of the bullying he received at school. "Unfortunately, boys and girls, this is occurring far too much," he said.
LeCadre urged the children to discuss these issues with teachers and parents, rather than letting them bubble to the point of explosion.
He said it is incredibly important to teach children these lessons because they are not being taught them otherwise.
"It is extremely important because one of the things we are noticing about this generation, the second generation of technical kids, is that they are not learning basic life skills at home from their elders anymore," he said. "Why Because the technology is interfering with that process. Those very valuable lessons are being taught now by train-wreck television and YouTube."
LeCadre also praised the professionalism and dedication of educators, saying, "it is a lot more than reading, writing and math. These teachers and counselors now have to teach kids life skills because they are not being taught them at home. It is a shame that they have to do it, but they are willing to do it and they do do it."
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