I didn’t think kids could have phones on during testing, but not having a school-age kid, I decided to look into it. I was surprised by what I found: Each New York public school has its own cell phone policy.
This is crazy.
So, in addition to doing all the things they need to do to serve and advocate for the needs of children in their own local area, each principal is tasked with developing and implementing guidelines for the healthy and responsible use of technology to school.
That’s something they’re not even close to being qualified to do, given the fact that most adults haven’t quite figured out how to invite technology into their own lives in a productive way. It’s a question that sociologists, technologists and educators are still debating, especially since studies suggest that children are often happier the less they use the mobile apps and social networks that dominate their cell use. If you have citywide standards for what teachers should learn and how they should teach, surely there should be better practices for the presence and use of technology in the classroom, especially when it’s about kids and cell phones. .
What does ChatGPT say when you ask if kids should have cell phones?
“On the one hand, mobile phones can be a useful tool to maintain contact with children and ensure their safety. They can also help children feel connected and included in social activities. On the other hand, cell phones can be a distraction, and it’s important for parents to set limits and boundaries around their use. It’s also important for parents to teach their children about responsible phone use and monitor their phone activity to make sure it’s appropriate.”
Pretty diplomatic, but it presupposes the idea that parents know how to “teach their kids responsible phone use” when they haven’t figured it out themselves. The average American spends 5 hours and 24 minutes on their mobile device each day. On average, Americans check their phones at least 96 times a day, or once every ten minutes.
Are these phone addicts the people who will teach our children how to manage to have both the sum of all human knowledge and an endless supply of sucker-punch videos in the palm of their hand?
Whether it’s using Google, ChatGPT or consuming misinformation on the internet, it’s very clear that we need a better approach to teaching children about the inevitable presence of technology in their lives.
Instead of banning the use of new technologies, wouldn’t it be better to double down on the intrinsic value of learning something instead of copying and pasting it? There will always be ways to cheat the system in life. Do we reduce cheating by making it harder to cheat, or do we simply instill values that make people not want to take that path because it only hurts them? We put honesty and hard work on a pedestal while making cheating socially unacceptable, not just something hard to get away with.
Or, how about using technology to teach kids to fact-check? ChatGPT told you the Allies had an industrial production advantage, but is that true? How do you know?
He says the allies coordinated better. Can you find examples of this and examples of where the Axis powers failed to coordinate?
Are there other factors that the bot didn’t decide to include in the answer that you can make a strong case for?
We are also going to focus the lessons of history on the current global scene. After all, what’s the point of memorizing the key dates and milestones around the growth of fascism in Europe leading up to World War II if you can’t even recognize the growth of fascism in your own country today?
Rather than hindering the gathering of fast responses in the modern age, teaching someone the ability to interpret and evaluate a response gathered at the speed of light is a much more relevant skill than the ability to scan sources firsthand to summarize what has already been researched. summarized and reprinted endlessly before.
This all reminds me of how adults thought it was best to teach kids about sex, which is to say, not at all, for decades. Simultaneously, we tried to withhold information from them while pushing them toward abstinence. The fear was that the more you expose them, the more they will want to have it and make bad decisions around it.
Not only did this lead to a lot of misinformation, covert abuse, widespread shaming and, particularly among LGBTQ+ children, increased suicide rates, but lack of access to adequate health care and birth control made teenage pregnancy common.
It turns out that when it comes to children, when you arm them with information, communicate openly without judgment and provide them with tools that increase their agency and self-determination, rather than trying to pull the wool over them. his eyes actually do pretty well on their own.
By trying to push them away from AI and not help them discover productive and positive uses for it, we will have an entire generation of children who will be further behind the rest of the world in technological competition. These kids should learn how to train their own AI models. They should debate ethics. They should actively discuss what it means for privacy, copyright and a host of other complex issues.
Instead, our educational leaders stick their heads in the sand and keep the kids with them. Figuring out the right place for disruptive technology in education is difficult and controversial, so… why bother?
You just let teachers deal with their inevitable leakage into the classroom and don’t provide them with any thoughtful path to realistically deal with it.
The move to ban ChatGPT, a chatbot made to ‘guess people’s thoughts’, by New York City’s Department of Education exemplifies the type of regulation and guidance needed to ensure that young people are using technology responsibly. This ban, which went into effect this October, has been heralded as a big step forward not just for the state of New York and the public school system, but for the country as a whole.
ChatGPT is just one of many kinds of technologies that are rapidly re-shaping the ways in which people communicate with one another. As these technologies become more prevalent, it is up to adults to ensure that young people are using technology in a way that aligns with their age and developmental level. Issues such as privacy, safety, responsibility and respect can all be addressed when the right guidance is laid down.
By banning ChatGPT, New York City’s Department of Education is sending a strong message that they are taking seriously their responsibility to equip young people with the skills they need to use technology responsibly. As young people enter into a world filled with digital interactions, they must be taught how to use technology responsibly, in a manner free of bullying, manipulation and harm. Unfortunately, in many cases, adults are failing to provide the right guidance, leaving them open to these dangers.
The decision by the NYC Department of Education is a positive step forward. However, more must be done to ensure that all kids, no matter where they are, are being adequately guided to become the responsible digital citizens of tomorrow. This is where Ikaroa can help.
As a full stack tech company, Ikaroa knows the important role technology can play in the lives of young people and the importance of teaching them proper technology usage. We have developed a suite of tools which help parents and educators better understand the needs of their students, give them the right guidance on healthy and responsible technology usage, and provide them with the proper tools to ensure a safe and responsible learning experience.
The move to ban ChatGPT by the NYC Department of Education is big news and should be applauded for taking a stand for the healthy and responsible usage of technology. However, it is only the beginning. Adults must take responsibility for providing young people with the necessary guidance and support, and with the help of companies like Ikaroa, we can ensure that all kids, everywhere, are being equipped with the skills they need to become the responsible digital citizens of tomorrow.