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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Education
Guidance Document Change: The 2020 General Assembly passed House Bill 817 requiring the Department of Education (VDOE), in collaboration with the Department of Health and medical professional societies, to develop and distribute health and safety best practice guidelines for the use of digital devices in public schools no later than the 2021-2022 school year. These guidelines address digital device use for different age ranges and developmental levels, the amount of time spent on digital devices in the classroom and at home, appropriate break frequency from the use of digital devices, and physical positioning as it applies to ergonomics and posture.
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4/8/21  12:27 pm
Commenter: S Det

Long way to go
 

While I congratulate the authors for compiling this useful set of guidelines and resources, I think we are a long way away from guaranteeing that the students' safety and academic success is the #1 priority motive for compiling these guidelines. If we think any child is safe from online-induced trauma (aka: ACE) or online addiction with today's technology purposely designed to manipulate our behavior and well-being, we are missing the point. By not discussing these risks, we are doing a disservice to our children and families.

After viewing the documentaries ScreenAgers, Childhood 2.0 (https://www.childhood2movie.com/ ) and the Social Dilemma (from the Center for Humane Technology ), it is anyone's guess why a parent or teacher would want to give their child/student of any age unsupervised internet. 

Children with adult devices are exposed to disturbing content and strangers online and expose other children to the same content. This is happening daily on the school buses, in school libraries, in school bathrooms and the cafeteria. If a child has a data plan on his/her phone, the child can easily bypass the school's internet filter on school property-no safety there. Parents need to be told not to give their child a data plan (use wifi only). School buses are not CIPA compliant and need to be, if we expect them to transport a child with an internet (adult) device. Trust me, I've tried every parent control software mechanism out there, and none of them keep porn off a child's phone or computer. If it doesn't come on an internet search, it comes via an image or sound recording on an app or a shared link in a text from a friend who thinks it's "funny". 

As a parent of a child who likes sports, I've had to talk to several gym teachers and coaches about their lack in tech training. The teachers tell my child to search for an exercise video on YouTube and present to class. Do you know what you can find when you search for exercise videos on YoutTube? Heaps of pornographic twerk videos circulated through the middle school after that assignment. Do schools realize how this technology has pornified youth culture? See Ernie Allen's 2018 presentation, he's the former President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children:  https://vimeo.com/271364507 )

In my experience, school teachers, coaches and social club staff often tell their students to get on social media to promote their events. Have they watched Ms. Roger's emotional plea to Congress last month (https://youtu.be/ORENSbL7ddA) about the impact of social media on our youth and families. There is a serious gap in training with our school teachers, at least in my county.

Personally, I would like to see schools create a vetted collection of e-resources in a safe 'intranet' that supports the curriculum the school is teaching versus telling a student to go explore the internet. Require students use scholarly databases (only) for their school research found on their school's library page and cite the source versus doing willy-nilly search on Google or an incognito search engine. Initially, I was told that the reason we pushed our kids to bring their own devices to school was because we didn't have enough money to buy enough text books for all students, but somehow we found more money to supply Chromebooks to thousands of students during COVID. We are naive to treat technology as God for all solutions and need to think outside the box to protect our youth and their families.

CommentID: 97698