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    Question/Request

    Hello Memoria!

    I have a biiiiiiig request.... Is there any way that Memoria Press Online Academy could host a forum similar to this one, that is just for students? Some of the online activity outside of classes can get really out of hand, and it would be great if there was a place for Memoria Press students to interact/ask questions/meet and greet in an environment that has some parental/teacher background involvement. I know they'll still find ways to connect outside of that forum, but that could be at least discouraged. In this way, Memoria and parents could be somewhat aware of the content of messages, who other families and students are, and the way the kids treat each other within the forum.

    Personally, my children know that I will regularly check their messages. They know that until they are older, there is no such thing as a totally private message. So yes, I do read what is being said to my kids, when I can see that they are suffering. In this way they have no choice but to come to me when there is a problem or if they or some other child is getting hurt. In this way I am able to help if they are being mistreated, or if they are the ones acting inappropriately. I can at least do some damage control, although I'm fairly powerless regarding other children. I realize that not all parents agree that is the right way to proceed, they feel it is violating their kids' privacy. It's a point of view I can certainly empathize with, even if I don't agree.

    I realize that it's impossible for Memoria to take charge of interactions that happen between their students that are unconnected. per se, with the Online Academy. But with no possibility of parental or teacher involvement in the interactions that are happening between online academy students on Skype and in Google hangouts, etc., kids who aren't even in Memoria Press are getting invited. I've heard of kids pretending to be other kids. I suspect complete strangers may even be involved at times.We need to be aware that these could be adults preying on children. Teenagers online with absolutely no adult involvement? It's not a good thing, as we all know.

    I get concerned with the way things can escalate quickly out of control, and kids can become inappropriate with one another. But worse, they can become unsafe. There is no way for parents to talk to each other or help their kids in the online situations they are dealing with. There is no monitoring of behavior. Police say over and over that parents should check their kids' phones regularly. So I refuse to feel guilty for being directly involved.

    It's a brave new world. Harrassment and cyber bullying-- and way worse-- are real things, but if there was a forum available for students who want to use it, it might at least allow a couple of connection points between parents to be able to sort things out. It's hard to be in another country and no idea who the the child bothering yours is-- if that makes sense. These kids are absolutely terrified of being found out, but it is the one thing that they need the most. Loving involvement. They do not realize what they are getting into.

    Maria

    #2
    I doubt that MPOA has any appetite for this. There is chat time before classes begin, there is I think the possibility of exchanging messages through Moodle - which at least limits the interactions to other MPOA students, and no outsiders, and you as the parent can decide who can send messages to your kids. Beyond this, I don't think MPOA feels the need to provide more, especially since that "more", as you say, is a big can of worms.
    One idea you may want to consider is Vita Beata, which was created to make more interaction possible among Memoria Press kids, but still within the limits of parental involvement, and kept within the realm of school things - if deeper friendships blossom, it would be up to the parents to decide how to deal with them.
    But honestly, my own attitude is that I don't really want to encourage online friendships for my kids. Their friends are mostly the kids of our friends, who are in-real-life friends, and the kids they've been around for years in their scout troops, in which we, the parents, are also involved as volunteers. Online school mates can be fun company, but if one wants to go beyond that level, the potential problems are so many I refuse to deal with them - our kids still have very little freedom to be online, and don't have phones yet. I just don't feel like burdening our lives with useless suffering that is easily avoidable. It's true that these days, with so many activities being cancelled or held in conditions that are not very conducive to making friends, it's very tough for kids - but I don't want the internet to become the solution.
    DS (14)
    DD (13)
    DS (6)

    Comment


      #3
      I’m basically going to “ditto” everything Mrs. Bee posted above. This is a can of worms that could leave MP open to litigation. We don’t allow smart phones or online “friendships” in our home. My children do have some contact with a small chess club that was held in person but had to move online. Any chat that takes place during tournaments is moderated by either the club director or a parent filling in. Any forum you can create can be backdoor-ed. Beyond that possibility, kids don’t see the far-reaching consequences of their speech, and the internet is forever. Your child could find themselves unemployable for a statement made in high school. What will you do when your child’s off-hand remark causes (in someone’s opinion) distress/injury/defamation of another student or an instructor?

      Blessings,
      Jude
      DD23
      DS20
      DS18
      DS16
      DD13
      DS11
      DD8

      Comment


        #4
        Hello. Perhaps that is correct. I'll just reiterate to warn many parents who may not be aware, as I wasn't, that there is a large group of Memoria Online Academy kids who are connected fairly constantly online in between classes and seem to be unsupervised in their interactions.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Girlnumber20 View Post
          Hello. Perhaps that is correct. I'll just reiterate to warn many parents who may not be aware, as I wasn't, that there is a large group of Memoria Online Academy kids who are connected fairly constantly online in between classes and seem to be unsupervised in their interactions.
          Seconding this. My boys are starting their third year with MPOA and they have met wonderful kids there. But, like any school, there are students whose behavior is unexpected.

          My boys once received a Google Hangout invite from a classmate. They weren’t allowed to accept it, but I went in to make sure the other kids were staying safe. A week or two later, I logged in to Google Hangouts for a non-related meeting and saw the chat that was going on. Besides immorality, there were things being said that bordered on s***ual harassment. I notified the appropriate adults and they did what they could to address the situation. The kids were pretty determined though and talked about switching to other hangouts and different platforms to evade being caught.

          MPOA does all it can to help us raise virtuous children, but it is up to us as parents to do the daily work.

          Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the extent of the dangers or — more often — assume that “Those kids are homeschoolers so they’re safe”.

          In case anyone else finds it helpful, here is how we’re navigating online friendships for our kids.

          Email addresses can only be shared with MPOA students that they’ve been in a class with.

          Their email is set up to auto-copy me on all incoming emails.

          They’re required to copy me on all outgoing emails. If we discover they haven’t done this, they lose email for at least 24 hours.

          All Dropbox documents and comment threads are set up with email notifications so I can receive it through auto-copy.

          All Google Drive programs (Docs, etc) are set up with email notifications for the same reason.

          No other online communication is allowed. This includes Gmail Chat, Skype, and Google Hangouts.

          Because I see everything that takes place in their communications, and therefore “know” their friends, we do allow them to host occasional Zoom calls on our secure business account.

          We also use Covenant Eyes for internet filtering and/or accountability. We love this because we can vary the settings by child to focus more on blocking (younger) or accountability (older).

          HTH!
          Jennifer
          Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

          DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
          DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
          DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
          DS11: SC 4
          DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
          DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
          DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

          Comment


            #6
            This is all very useful - if quite sad. Thank you, jen1134 , for adding your experience. In our family we need to start transitioning from almost total prohibition to responsible use of the internet - it's not easy to understand how to do it right, and it's good to see what other careful parents are doing.
            Maria, I'm really sorry if your kids have suffered, and I completely understand your desire to see MPOA stepping in and offering a space you could trust. I have to agree with Jen, though, that, ultimately, it's all about the parents. MPOA is in the education business, it's parents who are actually raising the children.
            DS (14)
            DD (13)
            DS (6)

            Comment


              #7
              Mrs. Bee, Jen, and Jude are right. It is just too much for us to have an area for students to chat that we have to monitor.

              Jen referenced the Google Hangouts that went very bad this spring. I jumped into that group at her request and it was fascinating to see how "worried" the students were that I was in the group since I was an adult. I kept repeating to them that online you don't know who anyone is so my presence shouldn't make them more or less comfortable. For all they knew, most of the other people they were chatting with were adults. They should always be on their guard when online. It was a learning experience for most of them but it was just a few students in the grand scheme of our online students.

              That experience also showed me that students will very quickly jump to a non-monitored platform as soon as they realize the one they are using is "compromised". I joined the chat at 4 PM one day, looked at it for an hour, and went home. The next morning I was surprised--when I looked at the group, they had thought I was watching their conversations all night and the group was empty.

              I recently caught wind that some students are creating Google Hangouts groups for classmates so they can chat during the class. Ostensibly it is because they want to be able to communicate if there are tech difficulties. I have told teachers to discourage that due to the distraction and risk inherent in taking communication outside of our supervision; we have the Ask a Teacher Forum in each classroom as the common place to go to when in need. Unfortunately without your help we cannot enforce this--we just can't see what is on each student's screen. The problem is magnified when they are chatting even outside of class time.

              We do everything we can to foster character growth and virtue, but we are just one puzzle piece of their lives.

              Peace,
              Paul
              Paul Schaeffer
              --
              Academy Director
              Memoria Press Online Academy

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by pschaeffer View Post
                I kept repeating to them that online you don't know who anyone is so my presence shouldn't make them more or less comfortable. For all they knew, most of the other people they were chatting with were adults. They should always be on their guard when online.
                Oh my goodness, poor kids - in a way, it's almost refreshing to see such naivete, but it just reinforces the point that parents must be seriously in charge of online activity for the good of their kids.

                And the Google Hangouts during class, with the thin veneer of a plausible excuse? That made me laugh - *back in my day*, as the old cranks say, we used balled-up bits of paper tossed across the room when the teacher was not looking. My best friend and I sat next to each other, and had a notebook we shared: we pretended we were taking notes during classes, but were just chatting in writing. Oh, kids...
                DS (14)
                DD (13)
                DS (6)

                Comment


                  #9
                  We don’t allow online friends that we have not met in person. I explained to my daughter that we have no way of knowing if a seemingly sweet girl in an MPOA class has been placed there by a groomer or predator. We are navigating the online world slowly and by talking a lot. My biggest avenue in that navigation is to keep the kids busy with sports and music, so there is very little time for it, so they learn it is there when they have time albeit sparingly. We use gabb phones for kids, which can’t have apps, group texts, or Images in texts. Message me for a referral if interested.
                  Christina

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I am late to this discussion, but I am curious how these kids are connecting with each other’s personal information if not through the class chat box? We are starting our seventh year with MPOA and it has not come up as an issue. My daughter says that the only time she has seen people share information is on the last day of class when they want to stay in touch.
                    Dorinda

                    For 2020-2021
                    DD 17-12th with MPOA(Classical Studies 3), CLRC (Latin 6, Greek 5), Thinkwell (Calculus and Chemistry), Vita Beata (Divine Comedy), American History
                    DS 15-9th with Lukeion(Latin 1 and Greek 1), Vita Beata (9th Literature)
                    DS 12-7th with Right Start Level H online class, Vita Beata (6th Literature)
                    DS 6 - 2nd blazing our own trail with Right Start D and a mix of MP materials

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
                      I am late to this discussion, but I am curious how these kids are connecting with each other’s personal information if not through the class chat box? We are starting our seventh year with MPOA and it has not come up as an issue. My daughter says that the only time she has seen people share information is on the last day of class when they want to stay in touch.
                      One way could be students' profiles - if you're in a class page and you click on the list of participants you can get to all the profiles, and some students (or the parents who created the profiles) have made their personal email available.
                      DS (14)
                      DD (13)
                      DS (6)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
                        I am late to this discussion, but I am curious how these kids are connecting with each other’s personal information if not through the class chat box? We are starting our seventh year with MPOA and it has not come up as an issue. My daughter says that the only time she has seen people share information is on the last day of class when they want to stay in touch.
                        I think it’s mostly last day of class and student profiles. Also, if they share their email with one classmate, there’s the possibility of being included on a group email which would of course introduce them to their classmate’s other in-person/online friends.
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
                        DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
                        DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
                        DS11: SC 4
                        DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
                        DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
                        DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Also sometimes a student will post in a chat box a link to a place to meet, like a Google Hangout, and while we try to remove those quickly, students sometimes join those not knowing just joining will reveal their email address.

                          Our default for profiles is to hide their information. The student or parent would have to consciously opt to show their email address to other students in the class.
                          Paul Schaeffer
                          --
                          Academy Director
                          Memoria Press Online Academy

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by pschaeffer View Post
                            Also sometimes a student will post in a chat box a link to a place to meet, like a Google Hangout, and while we try to remove those quickly, students sometimes join those not knowing just joining will reveal their email address.

                            Our default for profiles is to hide their information. The student or parent would have to consciously opt to show their email address to other students in the class.
                            Just student or parent emails as well? My son said at dinner he could see emails for everyone in their profile last year. He doesn’t have a MPOA class this semester to check.
                            Dorinda

                            For 2020-2021
                            DD 17-12th with MPOA(Classical Studies 3), CLRC (Latin 6, Greek 5), Thinkwell (Calculus and Chemistry), Vita Beata (Divine Comedy), American History
                            DS 15-9th with Lukeion(Latin 1 and Greek 1), Vita Beata (9th Literature)
                            DS 12-7th with Right Start Level H online class, Vita Beata (6th Literature)
                            DS 6 - 2nd blazing our own trail with Right Start D and a mix of MP materials

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I don't think parents have profiles, Mom2mthj - just students. The default profile only lists the classes you're in (and those you've done in the past), the last time you've logged in, and the Ask A Teacher forum posts you have started or contributed to. But students can add a personal introduction/description, and they can add a personal email address. As Paul said, it's a choice: parents always give MPOA students' email addresses for school purposes, but you have to choose to make it public on your profile, it's not automatic.

                              pschaeffer I think maybe MPOA needs to be more explicit with parents about technology - though I don't know what you're telling parents these days during Orientation. A student could be making his email address "public" (it's still only visible to classmates) without parental knowledge. It may be a concern. Also, I guess kids can always say that the Handbook doesn't explicitly prohibit Google Hangouts, and if they use the excuse that it's class-related, they feel they've found a nice loophole there.
                              DS (14)
                              DD (13)
                              DS (6)

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