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Worried About the Wrong ThingsYouth, Risk, and Opportunity in the Digital World$
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Jacqueline Ryan Vickery

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036023

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036023.001.0001

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Access Denied: Information, Knowledge, and Literacy

Access Denied: Information, Knowledge, and Literacy

(p.83) 3 Access Denied: Information, Knowledge, and Literacy
Worried About the Wrong Things

Jacqueline Ryan Vickery

The MIT Press

This chapter analyses the unintended consequences of federal policies that require schools to block students’ access to potentially harmful or objectionable online material. Justifications for blocking online content are often based on perceptions of sexual risks. For many low-income youth, school is one of the primary access points and blocking sexual content perpetuates a lack of sexual education; there needs to be a balance between protection and access. Additionally, this chapter considers the claim that students are at risk of being overloaded with information and misinformation. Rather than blocking information, schools should play a greater role in helping students develop critical digital literacies required to participate in a digital culture: by helping them become critical consumers, responsible contributors, and activists. Lastly, it argues that blocking students’ access to online content is value-laden and often overlooks other risks such as the ways advertising and data collection can also be harmful and exploitative.

Keywords:   information literacy, sexual education, sex-ed, Wikipedia, Activism, Advertising, Twitter, Access, Misinformation, information overload

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