I realize I’m far from my teenage years now, but this was really interesting to read. It really doesn’t surprise me, though – it seems to be a trend for those with money and authority to supress the voices of the people that got them there in the first place.
Most of the time, as you can guess, I disagree with big business and government busting down on new technology. Ever since the VCR, companies have gone out of their way to make it more difficult for any technology that makes our lives easier to become a bigger pain in the butt. It’s not that they aren’t justified, it’s that they abuse it, waving it around like a banner, making it sound like Grandma and Grandpa Jones, Kid Billy Joe and that sweet old lady that visits the store is a thief in disguise. They need to learn to back off of people and bust those who are breaking the law, not pass more laws against the innocent.
So what does big business busting down on new technology to make a profit and schools and universities making rules to ban content on blogs have in common? A lot, in my opinion. First, every time they do this kind of thing, they end up provoking more people – mostly the young – to go against the grain and break the rules. Second, they stir fear into people who don’t understand the purpose of said technologies – hence, don’t be surprised if people are more hesitant to go near computers. (Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but I know people who won’t touch machines because of this. It is quite sad, really.)
The biggest problem I have, though, is that they’re kid’s. They need to have the space to grow as individuals, and the tools to be as creative as they want to be, not told that they can’t do something because “it might offend someone.” (We’re supposed to be the United States, famous for that freedom of speech thingy, remember?) They need to be allowed to make mistakes, and understand the consequences of those mistakes. Most of all, though, they need to be allowed to take advantage of the new things available, for they’re eventually going to be the ones pushing out the new technology.
There is one last thing to note: If the schools are doing this, what about companies? Am I going to have to yank or edit my site simply because I said something that goes against the company I represent? Will they completely ban my site, or any blog/web sites? They might, based on actions like this. One thing I notice is that once someone stirs that fear pot, everybody and their relatives and frienmds have to jump in and make it worse. It makes for a bad brew.
I hope, if you really care about these kids, you take all that I have said to mind. Each time we pass a new law on piracy, we only hurt the customer; each time we make rules and regulations against the honest, we hurt the people who could best use that technology. Someday, it will come back to hurt us all.