Dear Parents and Carers,
We often test out our own thinking by asking other people what they think. They are the touchstones in our own thought processes. Hearing how strongly they hold their opinion allows us to locate where our own response is on the spectrum of public opinion.
Over the weekend I asked a family member an important question. They are not religious. They are politically left of centre. They pride themselves on their open-mindedness. You get the picture.
The question I asked was this: ‘Would you allow a child of under 16 to have unfiltered access to the Internet in your home?’
‘No,’ they replied.
I thought I had misheard, ‘You wouldn’t filter their access?’
‘No, I wouldn’t allow them unfiltered access. Absolutely not.’
I wasn’t expecting them to agree with me. I just wanted to better understand what I thought would be their alternative view.
‘Why wouldn’t I allow a toddler near the knife drawer? Why wouldn’t I let a child walk blindfold across Helvellyn? Why do you think?’
I understand why many religious families would insist on internet filters at home for their families. I understand why many socially conservative families would insist on them. I now understand that this conviction is shared by some of those on the opposite side of the religious/ political spectrum as well. What I don’t understand is why it isn’t shared by everyone.
Hasmonean is a religious school with strong moral values with a duty to safeguard children. Within school time we do everything that we can to instil good morals within students and to protect them from harm. From the moment our students leave the school building, some of them can be guided by words and images that can harm them and influence them to harm others.
While your child may be raised by your family and the Hasmonean family, for how many hours of the day and night are they left to wander alone among strangers in those dark and dangerous virtual alleys where women are objectified and degraded and self-harm is encouraged?
In a world where self-harm and poor mental health is ever rising, let’s make sure that we are not adding to our children’s burdens.
In a world where ‘Everyone’s Invited’, let’s make sure children understand that to respect themselves they must respect others.
At the end of our conversation, I asked another question.
‘Do you still believe that prisons do not work, that restorative justice is the best sanction even for the most heinous of crimes and that everyone should pay higher taxes?’
‘OK, just checking.’
Mr A McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT