Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students.
District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance. Continue reading…
A few questions I’d like to bring up with this news story:
What’s to prevent one student from holding on to multiple ID cards? From the school’s perspective, that’s basic data integrity 101.That’s not the main concern here in view of privacy and safety issues, but is it still worth using the technology for this purpose in light of its shortcomings?
What happens when a tech-savvy student or even campus intruder decides to use a an active RFID reader to monitor the activities of all RFID chips in range?
A spokesman for the school district is quoted:
“Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.”
Ask yourself: Is this a true statement down the level of where a student is on campus? And if so, is that a fair expectation from parents? Is it beneficial to both the healthy upbringing of the students and the sometimes overprotective habits of parents when given this option?
“Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information.”
So who is going to set up the technology and fix it when it’s broken? Who is going to help the officials read the data, store the data on backup servers, and correct anomalies?
We need to look carefully at news stories like this one and consider what the trade-offs will be, where the technology is taking us, and what we may lose in the process.
About CovenantEyes.com : Bridging the Gap Between Technology & Relationships
Before June of 2000, Internet filters were the best tools available to parents to protect their children online. But as a parent, this was not what Ron DeHaas wanted. He wanted a tool that would help him actually build a bridge of conversation with his sons about responsible Internet use. This was how the concept of accountability software was born.
In this interview Mr. DeHaas talks about how Internet accountability defends, demonstrates, and develops integrity for both adults and children. He talks at length about how his company, Covenant Eyes, was started, and how the software program works. (continue reading…)
Blocking software is very useful but it has its limits. Over a decade ago we pioneered a new service called Internet Accountability Software to help people fight online temptations.
This service simply monitors everywhere you go online. It doesn’t block anything. A rating is then assigned to every web address based on objectionable material, and the information is compiled into easy-to-read reports. Reports are sent via e-mail to anyone you wish to see it.
Parents can then use these reports to have good conversations with their kids about where they go online. Friends can help friends discuss the temptations they face online and how the Internet impacts their relationships and their lives offline.
Our Accountability Service is custom-designed to help you have honest conversations about how the Internet is used. Removing the secrecy helps to remove the temptation. Learn more on our services page or sign up for an account now.
“Should I let my child have a smartphone?” You may have some good reasons to give one to your child. Here are seven reasons not to:
Porn. In the app stores, on pornography websites, on malware-infected sites, on social media networks… “But I set up parental controls. I can lock down the device, right?” Sure, but a word of caution: someone who wants to find a way around controls will do just that. Think hidden folder apps, private web browser apps, harmful websites not yet blacklisted, etc. Is your child too young to think of these things? Young 6-year-olds have accidentally clicked on porn through “related videos” inside Apps for kids. While new ways of filtering out or monitoring porn may become available, these helpful services are no match in a competition with the multi-billion dollar porn industry. Recent news headlines:
They’re expensive. Consider a phone plan with a low number of minutes, text messaging, a data plan (required for most smartphones!), and tax at $90/month that comes out to $1,080/year. Add the cost of accessories. Then add the cost of upgrading to the next phone when that model becomes obsolete and the current model has already lost its resale value. Maybe you have a Family Plan that cuts my estimate in half–it’s still a significant amount.
Less exercise. One of the trade-offs to spending time in front of a screen is less time spent on activities involving physical exercise. Sure, some activities surrounding a smartphone can involve exercise (jogging to music?). But consider the amount of time spent sitting or standing. “But you don’t understand, my child would have spent their time in front of the TV.” Okay, so get rid of your TV. No one said the road to success here would be an easy one.
Physical safety from pedophiles and stalkers online. Having a smartphone often involves broadcasting a physical location to friends and online followers. Ask yourself: How hard is it to directly or indirectly trick a young person into giving away their location?
Poor sleeping habits. “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 75 percent of teens use cellphones at night when they should be sleeping, and after 9pm, 34 percent of adolescents reported text messaging, 44 percent reported talking on the telephone, 55 percent reported being online, and 24 percent played computer games. Media use also often stimulates the brain, which makes it harder to sleep hours after you’ve turned your electronic devices off.” (source)
Exposure to other dangers: violence, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, and erotic reading material in ebooks. All of these things can be found in those fun, free games your child’s friend showed them. “But that stuff doesn’t affect my kid!” Yes, it does, whether you realize it or not. Regardless, consider that your decision for your child may unknowingly influence other parents, whose children will be affected differently. Also consider the implications for game developers who see increased downloads and in turn, larger profits on the games containing the dangers mentioned above.
Important life lessons gained while going through childhood without the smartphone: The patience to wait for something. A longer attention span. Contentment without owning the newest toy. Solid social skills after having spent more time interacting face-to-face with peers. The personal strength to fight peer pressure when “everyone else is doing it.”
Parents, now that you’re aware of some of the dangers, I hope that you’ll agree with me: You love your child too much to ignore these dangers. You would rather withhold something they want, than give them what will likely harm them. For those who have young children and are trying to make a decision, keep in mind that you don’t have to learn this lesson the hard way. If your child was about to walk off the edge of a cliff and you had the chance to prevent it, wouldn’t you put your foot down for their sake, despite their protests?
Note: I purposefully haven’t mentioned an age. Instead of asking “When should I give my child a smartphone?” weigh the risks your kid would face along with the real benefits they may receive.