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Life Skills: Brought to you by Facebook

I just deactivated my son’s Facebook account. I did it for a multitude of reasons not least of which is the distraction factor. It is ironic because I was actually the person who set it up for him thinking he’d be able to help himself remain a known entity among the kids with whom he’d attend high school next year after having left the school district for 8th grade. Perhaps I should have encouraged him to play soccer instead. I read somewhere that for this generation of children, to share means to exist.

In the case of my son, to share meant that he’d say things online he’d never dare say to their faces and all his online friends would do the same. An errant status update or comment can be as destructive to the psyche as a confrontation in the school hallway—but to an exponentially larger audience with updates and comments of their own.

The more I ponder this, the less certain I am that I’ve done the right thing. In fact, I fear I’m guilty of the same mistake of which I’ve accused some educators—disparaging the technology I don’t understand in order to force a lesson on my own terms. I was the one who snickered with superiority after reading about cell phone bans in many school districts across the country thinking them unenlightened and unwilling to adapt to the realities involved in teaching our current generation. But here am effectively bashing the medium-denying the importance of its place in my son’s life and most of all, denying him the opportunity to learn to navigate Facebook and gain the “social skills” necessary for life amongst his peers. After all, if the going got rough at school, I wouldn’t let him stay home with the curtains drawn.
Let me think about this some more.