It is heart-breaking to think that a young person could be capable of the atrocities we have recently seen in the news as of late. It seems events such as school shootings are becoming more common than ever before. As the debate rages about whether stricter gun controls would have prevented these occurrences, I would wager to say gun control provides less a solution than most would hope. While gun control would serve to limit the number of future gun sales, I fear there are far too many weapons already in the hands of everyday citizens to effectively control the use of guns. What is at the heart of the issue, however, is not the use of guns and violence, but the reasons behind its use. I fear the problem runs much deeper than simply a gun control problem.
Kids are innately curious and innocent by nature. It is not until they begin to explor society that they begin to discover thoughts and ideas beyond what they have been taught. Some would argue that limiting exposure to these thoughts and ideas prevents kids from developing socially deviant behaviors. I argue, however, the opposite is true. Without exposure and guidance in these “taboo” ideas, kids will gain their understanding through whatever channels are available to them. In the past, channels were limited to friends, neighbors, and local community. This is no longer the case. The internet in loll it’s convenience and wonder has opened up a world of information for our kids. They have access to a wealth of knowledge within reach of the nearest device. Parents become fearful about online stackers and cyber bullying and limit the use of this amazing resource in hopes that protecting them from objectionable content will ensure they grow with acceptable ideas of the world. Unfortunately, what this serves to accomplish is students grow with a skewed sense of the world. When they are old enough to use the resources, they lack an understanding of its scope and dangers. Without prior controlled exposure, they now have free reign in an unlimited arena.
Imagine comparing this to swimming. If a child is brought up in an environment where they never see a pool, when cast into the water, they will most certainly drown. This is an apt analogy for the internet. It isn’t the safety of a wading pool awaiting our students; it is an ocean with an endless horizon. If we do not teach our kids to swim in its waters safely, they will get lost in the current.
In future posts we will discuss more about mental health and its importance for kids development into emotionally stable and mature adults. This is a topic that deserves much discussion on ways we can contribute to healthy students in schools.