DSM: RE: Media and age-appropriateness

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Fri Dec 07 2001 - 00:06:31 EST


Hi Melissa.

It is within the purview of school meetings of Sudbury schools to limit
the existence and terms thereof of any material considered objectionable
by the school meeting. My feeling is that these limits are formed based
on factors including the offensiveness of the material to the ambient
school culture, and the risk to the school in "allowing" children to
view material that would be deemed by the larger community to be
appropriate, rather than actual arbitrary decisions regarding the
appropriateness of a child of any given age viewing such material.

I feel the reason for this is not that many parents involved at our
school would not agree with you in your comfort level with small
children viewing objectionable material, but that the children in our
school are almost always quite clear as to what they are and are not
offended by, and that it is (pursuant to the discovery of the child's
inner voice) of primary importance that the child finds that line for
herself, and that (pusuant to the actualization of a real school
culture) these "lines" are embodied in a democratic decision by school
meeting.

I believe the staff and students of the Fairhaven School meeting have
voted several measures that relate to this: to disallow pornographic
materials at the school (and there is specific language defining what
"pornographic" means), and that a group watching an "R"-rated movie must
hang a sign with a big, red "R" on the door.

At this time, there is no measure prohibiting or limiting video or
computer games based on their content per se.

Also, keep in mind that we do not take students much younger than five
years old.

-Joe

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> [mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org] On Behalf Of
> Melissa D. L. Millman
> Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 10:41 PM
> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> Subject: DSM: Media and age-appropriateness
>
>
> Hi! I'm new to this list (have been lurking for a little
> while), and the
> recent thread about TV has brought up a lot of questions for me.
>
> As parents, we constantly look out for our children's safety
> and health (if
> we don't, we are neglectful, I suppose), but gradually
> through the years,
> they become capable of looking out for themselves. The "art"
> of parenting
> then comes in the process of paying attention to your child
> and trying to
> figure out when they have this capability for any particular
> health/safety
> issue. It seems to me that there will be some natural
> variation among
> children as to the timing of when they are capable (and when
> the parents
> think they are capable) of judgment about TV viewing and
> also about other
> media such as violent video games. So, what do Sudbury
> school communities
> do about young children (6 and under, I guess) and things
> like extremely
> violent video games, or Internet porn? As a parent, I
> wouldn't necessarily
> feel comfortable letting my young child have free access to
> those things,
> but I do know that at some point my child would be capable of
> using his
> judgment. Just as I wouldn't let my 2-year old have free
> access to sharp
> knives or matches. My opinion is that some kinds of media
> can actually
> cause damage that is unacceptable, if the child is too young.
>
> To put this into the Sudbury context: Does the School
> Meeting make rules
> about young children's level of access? Would the older
> children and staff
> care about "protecting" them?
>
> I'm interested in hearing others opinions, and especially
> experiences from
> Sudbury parents.
>
> Thanks,
> Melissa
>
>
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