Intellectual Freedom for Youth

laptop phoneSocial Technology

When I was growing up, we called our friends on the family rotary phone and met at the Dairy Queen to "hang out". Today's young people have cell phones and "hang out" online in places like myspace and facebook. They write in blogger and share photos in flickr.

Many social technologies bridge home and school. Students might use a social network called footnote in a history class, write book or movie reviews for the library blog, or collaborate on a class wiki.

Views on School Access to Social Technology

There are many perspectives on the use of social technology in schools:

Variables to Consider

There are many variables for parents, teachers, and coordinators to consider when selecting and using social technology with young people:

Parents and educators need to design environments where they can teach and model responsible use of social technology. Young people need an atmosphere where they can learn to act responsibly.


School library media specialists have a long history of fighting book censorship. How do we fight website censorship? Think about the value of the following resources:

Intellectual FreedomAre we throwing out the baby with the bathwater by filtering everything? School library resources such as books, videos, audios, kits, and other resources are evaluated before being placed in the school library. However websites may or may not be pre-selected. Think about those technologies that are appropriate for young people. Many have social technology elements, yet should still be considered part of the digital library.

Read about Intellectual Freedom from the Office for Intellectual Freedom from ALA.

According to ALA (2005), intellectual freedom is the “the right of any person to hold any belief on any subject and to express that idea in ways that he or she believes is appropriate.” Social technologies test these boundaries by providing open forums for discussion.

The Shooting War is a graphic novel written for mature learners providing commentary on today's video bloggers, the news media, and issues of intellectual freedom. Although filled with political satire, it's a compelling look at the role of media in today's society.

Read books such as Click focusing on the importance of photojournalism in opening the eyes of people around the world. Proceeds to book sales go to Amnesty International. Read One Question, Ten Answers with the Authors of CLICK from Scholastic.

Or, read Nothing But the Truth which explores issues related to Freedom of Speech and telling the truth.

"I think the First Amendment is probably the most important thing that you have in this country. And I'm always horrified at the cavalier way that you (Americans) treat it." - Popular author Neil Gaiman

Go to the Take Action page.

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