11.17.2005

or no blogs

From Catholic News Service

Citing Internet safety worries, Catholic school bans student blogging
SPARTA, N.J. (CNS) -- A Catholic high school named for Pope John XXIII, who sought to bring the light of the church into the modern world, is dealing with a very modern matter -- Internet safety that is being compromised by personal Web logs, known as blogs. Through Internet sites such as myspace.com, xanga.com and friendster.com, students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta and many from all over the country had been posting their photos, daily thoughts and interests to share with others. But Msgr. Kieran McHugh, president of the Paterson diocesan high school, told students at a recent assembly that the school has banned Internet blogging in the school and at the students' homes. "All these sites are havens for predators," he said. "The reason for the school's stand is to comply with the (Diocese of Paterson's) policy of protecting God's children."

Can someone explain how they can ban students from blogging at home???

10 comments:

the reverend mommy said...

Ok, I don't like that. I don't like that at all.

kevin h said...

That's a pretty slippery slope they just slid down...

I'm all for the bans at school. From what I've seen of myspace and xanga, I'm not even against them recommending students stay away from those places. A full ban on blogging is ridiculous, though. Assuming what's posted here is representative of the situation, I think the school has overreached their authority. This is a parental responsibility. If parents don't know how to handle the responsibility, the church needs to do something to teach the parents, not to take over as parents.

jo(e) said...

My kids were talking about this -- it doesn't make any sense, does it?

You have to wonder....

kevin h said...

I have to wonder how many kids are really going to comply, how the school things they are going to police it, and what plans they have for enforcement.

Steph said...

On the flip side .... I know the school I was at several years ago ended up busting some kids for stuff they had on their webpage because they were also connecting themselves as students of the school (if that makes sense). So basically, if you said "I attend XYZ High School, and people there _____" -- that was a problem, especially because of what went in that blank.

From what I've seen of my current kids' myspaces and xangas .... it's WAY bad news. Sure, for some of them it's OK, but many of them are obviously lacking the maturity level to handle it appropriately. What they're putting out there (photos, info, etc.) is just ASKING for trouble, and it makes me nervous to see it. Heck, even just the e-mail addresses and screennames that they choose...

That being said -- I'm not sure if I buy a total ban on what the kids do at home. However, if they're banned from identifying themselves with the school on such blogs, that I could possibly understand. There was a policy at my school that the student handbook applied to any school function, on- or off-campus, during or after school hours. I also think there was something about "Any time you're in your uniform, you are representing the school and must behave accordingly."

Given the predators that we KNOW are out there, and the naivete and lack of discernment on the part of our kids, and all the bullying and violent speech that goes on among our kids .... these spaces do make me a little nervous.

But perhaps that's when we try to help the cause not the symptom -- and come up with some way to convince these kids to BE SMART ONLINE. Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to figure that one out.

Lorem ipsum said...

At HOME? If not for blogs, some kids would never write at all. And that would just be sad. I think the Monsignor is a bit misinformed. Of course there are predators online. But there are also predators on the street. Are they going to start chauffeuring students to and from school so they don't have to deal with regular people on the bus or on the sidewalk? (I actually went to high school with a girl whose grandfather would ride the bus to and from school with her, because her family was terrified of what they'd seen on TV shows depicting American schools - sex, drugs, etc. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to her, whether she ever ended up having a normal life.)

Take it from me: forbid something, and you'll only want to do it more. Especially if you're a kid.

AveMaria1 said...

That is strange that they would ban blogging at home. Blogging is a way to interact with others and to collaborate. The other thing is, students should be made aware not to post personal information on their blogs, i.e. where they live, work, etc. If blogging isn't safe, then neither is walking down the street. If you are going to be a target, you are going to be a target.

Kids these days are much more technology savvy. They use the internet. I can see educating kids on the subject, but banning it, yeah that's downright not cool!

Lisa said...

I have not read an actual firsthand accounting of the proclamation and so am somewhat reticent to make direct comments about the handling of the matter. I will offer a few general thoughts based on what I know of the general climate out of which the "no blog" edict emerged.

It does not seem appropriate in any way for them to attempt to BAN blogging at home. However, depending on how they worded the edicted and what codes they have in force at the school, they could have a reach that would cover -- at least in idea -- their new prohibition.

While I understand their concerns and apparently this grew reaction grew in response to a REAL serious threat, I think in the reactionary mode -- and the representation that this is in support of the Paterson Diocese's "Protecting God's Children" policy -- they have embarked upon a misguided response and missed a serious opportunity for significant teaching and more effective protection of God's children.

That said, given the Paterson's Diocese experience of the "priestly sexual abuse crisis," one can more easily understand the (over)reaction. Pateron is a small diocese for those who don't know it; however, it was hit hard by the now infamous sexual abuse by Fr. Mark Hanley, former associate pastor/parochial vicar at St. Joseph's Church in Mendham.

Trust me, when I say, that they have young people's best interest at heart but probably don't have a wide grasp on the dynamics involved here.

If anyone is interested in gaining a bit more insight to the dynamics I describe, you might be interested in visiting www.fatherlasch.com. Father Lasch is, among other good things, former pastor of St. Joseph's Mendham and a longtime priest of the diocese. The website is worth a visit.

Peace,
Lisa

Lisa said...

MAJOR CORRECTION: In my previous response, I mistakenly wrote Father Mark Hanley -- BIG MISTAKE ON MY PART: It should have read Father James Hanley.

Susan, can you go in and edit my reply so it reads correctly?

My SINCERE apology for the oversight in my typing. The connection to a "Mark" was that "Mark Serrano" was one of the brave victims who came forward.

I am soooo sorry for the error.

Lisa

Shushan said...

I don't think they will be able to prevent their students from blogging at home, or at a friend's house, or a library...

Susan in VA