The teenage years can be the most confusing and typically the most inquisitive years for identity development, particularly sexual identity development.Peers and romantic partners play a large part in sexual identity construction in the adolescent years and conversations with peers during high school often act as an important source of sex-related information.Although I see why current Leopold parents expect great positives from the new building, I believe that these are short-term gains for the school and community and that the negatives of creating an extremely large elementary school may outweigh the short-term advantages.
However, in chat rooms teens are communicating primarily with strangers and with one or more users.
Users gather information about one another by using codes such as asking “a/s/l” to determine another user’s age, sex and location or by using gendered nicknames.
Whether the chat room is being used or not also can depend on if it is free or there is a fee. Monitored chat rooms have an adult present on the site to ensure privacy and keep participants safe.
The monitors are there to warn participants not to divulge personal information and also detect for sexual harassment.
There is a fine line drawn with monitored chat rooms because sexual slang is permitted, but violent crude language is not.
With the allowance for sexual language, lurks the danger for online sexual predators in young online chat rooms.
The internet is beginning to also have a greater impact on teens when it comes to sexual identity construction and is now the most commonly used form of communication.
For generations, teens have turned to media outlets for information about sex and now with the internet at almost every teen’s fingertips, access is just a click away.
It is my responsibility to ask whether we have the experience to make such a joint school work and what additional resources would be required to assure student success under such conditions.