News in Melbourne Australia this morning is that mobile phones will be banned from an upcoming TV awards night. This is a reaction to previous years’ ‘night of nights’, where inappropriate texts and more particularly, inappropriate Tweets emanated from the ceremony audience. It actually lead to the sacking of a journalist from a prominent newspaper.
The news made me wonder again about our maturity as a society in the use of Social Media. I wrote about this before in relation to the devastating floods in Queensland Twitter, The Good, the Bad and the ugly.
I wonder, Will the children in our schools now, grow to become more savvy users of these tools than the current set of adults, or are they already?
Of course, as a teacher, I have to say ‘Yes’, or at the very least “I hope so”. I spend my professional life trying to instill in children good cyber behaviour. Our students interact with each other on-line, via blogs and in some cases Twitter in an environment that is modelling appropriate behaviour. Today’s adults have not had this introduction, and they are making the mistakes that the next generation can learn from. The mistakes are very public and unfortunately, tools like Twitter are getting a bad name because of this learning curve. As teachers, we have all too many examples of the consequences of ‘bad’ cyber behaviour to quote to our students.
Despite this, I really don’t think that banning the phones at the ceremony is the answer. We know that human nature will just see this as a challenge. Just as in schools, banning the use of Web 2 technology is not the answer. Students quickly work their way around bans – we need to teach them how to behave, not control the tools at their fingertips.
I have the answer for the award night events manager – allocate a primary school child per celebrity to chaperone them – I really believe our kids already have a better idea.