Monday, April 20, 2015

Raising (and Educating) 'Free Range Kids' - Hack Education

from Hack Education
This post first appeared in January 2015 on Educating Modern Learners
Another week, another story of parents under investigation for letting their kids play outside without supervision.
Ten year-old Rafi and six-year-old Dvora Meitiv had been allowed by their parents to walk around their Silver Springs, Maryland neighborhood. But recently, as they walked the two blocks to a nearby park, someone called the police and Child Protective Services.
I'd argue that this cultural shift is partially about fear, but it's also tied to a growing surveillance culture. Thanks in part to the ubiquity of technology, we are constantly watched and watching. And thanks to social media, we often feel compelled to share our corrections and condemnations in turn.
As Swarthmore professor Timothy Burke observes, "The problem with a lot of our ubiquitous surveillance is precisely not that it is overtly hateful and hating. Instead, what makes so much of it easy to pursue is that it presents itself as a kindness." And that so-called "kindness" is probably partially what's at play when someone calls the police because they see a child alone. The repercussions, of course, are so incredibly damaging to the families involved.

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