Disclosure: I am one of many grandparents, parents, etc. who see technology as a threat to our children.
I would rather my grandchildren physically read literature, book in hand and do their school and homework in a black and white composition notebook or loose-leaf binder. On a personal note, it didn’t take us long to realize that doing homework or one’s so-called studies on a Chromebook is a major distraction for the student that would rather be on Roblox and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
While our children are drawn further into the cesspool of what has become known as the internet, the list of concerns and threats out there of which parents, guardians, grandparents and educators must be wary of, for the safety and sanctity of our children continues to grow.
I can attest since I’m spend plenty of time perusing my grandchildren’s emails that there is a growing problem with ads which leads me to the following essay that I just ran across this report on Missouri Education Watchdog and thought it worth sharing. Please read the essay in its entirety. Please sign the petition and please so share. This is too important not to.
Missouri Education Watchdog by Cheri Kiesecker
This petition says online ads have no place in school. We agree. Do you?
Students are often presented with distracting, sometimes very inappropriate online ads while using school issued computers and software. These ads pop up or appear as side-bar recommendations to click here, download this app, watch this video, buy this — all while students are trying to do their online school work. A group of Missouri educators and parents have had enough. The group says these ads “are completely unnecessary”. They say the ads have no place in school, no educational value. They are asking their Missouri state officials to stop all online advertisements to preschool through 12th grade students. Read the petition below and then take a look at a few of the ads students have seen on school issued devices and accounts. Let us know what you think.
(WARNING: some ads are very graphic and not appropriate for children; we’ve blacked out portions.).
“The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) annual report states, “Digital technologies used in schools are increasingly being harnessed to amplify corporate marketing and profit-making and extend the reach of commercializing activities into every aspect of students’ school lives.” Students are increasingly asked to us a computer or device for classwork, homework, research and collaborations with other students online. This often requires students to download apps or use products like Google / Gsuite, or YouTube. While online, students are bombarded with ads, promotions, recommendations of sites to click, products to purchase. In a recent study, it was found that 95% of the most downloaded apps target young children with ads. There is also a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint against YouTube for improperly collecting children’s information. A coalition of over 20 privacy, consumer, and public health advocacy groups called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the apps targeting young children.
We believe that schools should be places where students can learn, free of distractions from pop-up advertisements. Students should not be subjected to commercials and online ads. Children are not commodities and schools should not be an online marketplace to target children with inappropriate, unwanted and potentially dangerous ads.
We ask that online advertisements be prohibited to all Missouri PreK-12 school children. Please sign and join us in sending this request to our Missouri Governor and legislators.”
More screen time, more Ads?
As mentioned in the petition above, technology products in classrooms have increased significantly in the last 5 years. Many schools have implemented 1:1 devices (a computer, often a Chromebook, issued to every student to use in class and take home for homework). If schools don’t have 1:1 devices, most offer computer carts (often Chromebooks) that students can log into, often starting in elementary grades. Instead of text books, schools often require students to do reading, math, much of their curriculum and assessments online (edtech). Schools sometimes reward children with extra computer time, allow them to play video games on their computers, surf the web, when they finish an assignment. Some schools allow (even promote) the use of social media (Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Skype, Pinterest) in middle and high school. All this screen time in schools gives advertisers ample opportunity and a captive, impressionable audience to market their wares.
Below are just a few examples of ads (screen shots) that actual k-12 students have seen on school devices and school accounts.
(Be advised: some ads contain graphic content. We have blocked out the most offensive portions. If you find these ads disturbing and uncomfortable, we ask you to imagine a child seeing these ads, unfiltered.)
These two ads were presented to a Missouri student, under the age of 13, while at school, while using her school issued device. The student was logged into Gsuite, and had used the Google search engine to do research for a homework assignment. Remember, this is at school and the child did nothing wrong. She was doing research and had searched for the name of a play; this is what she saw.
These screen shots don’t show it, (you’re welcome), but both of these ads were animated, the bodies were moving.
The ads are obviously inappropriate. Imagine having to explain this to a distraught, very young child who was exposed to these ads[…]
Again, please read the above essay in its entirety then sign the petition and share.
One more thing. This is not just about Missouri but about our children being put at risk and targeted across the country, i.e., in every state. This must end. #StopKidsAds
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