News today is that Jeffrey Sandusky – son of Penn State perv Jerry Sandusky, who is hopefully getting violated by a lot of large, angry men in prison for sexually abusing 10 children – has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two minors.
Pennsylvania State Police detained Sandusky on six felony counts: statutory sexual assault; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; photographing, videographing, depicting on computer or filming sexual acts; and unlawful contact with a minor; sexual abuse of children; corruption of minors.
According to police, Jeffrey Sandusky attempted to obtain explicit material from a minor under the age of 18 — referred to as victim No. 1 — via text messages in March 2016. The minor’s mother was dating Sandusky at the time and had been for six years. Sandusky lived with the woman and her children for five of those years.
The look on my face as I sit here and read this is one of sheer disgust so profound, that my face actually hurts.
I have to say, though, is it possible that the younger Sandusky is the product of his twisted, repugnant father’s abuse? I mean, I’m not trying to make excuses for this slimebag. I’m just curious if it’s possible that Sandusky became the twisted kiddie diddler he is because he was living with an abuser himself. I can’t imagine that the elder Sandusky didn’t take advantage of having his own little victim living inside his house, and if he did, what are the chances that he created a sexual predator?
I watch too much Special Victims Unit.
But that said, I did stumble upon some research that addresses child sexual abuse.
Among 747 males the risk of being a perpetrator was positively correlated with reported sexual abuse victim experiences. The overall rate of having been a victim was 35% for perpetrators and 11% for non-perpetrators. Of the 96 females, 43% had been victims but only one was a perpetrator. A high percentage of male subjects abused in childhood by a female relative became perpetrators. Having been a victim was a strong predictor of becoming a perpetrator, as was an index of parental loss in childhood.
So while roughly a third of the men who were sexually abused as children became abusers themselves, it doesn’t end there. Family environment, neglect, and a lack of supervision increased a boy’s chances of becoming a predator, according to a subsequent UK study.
“The message here is that sexual victimization alone is not sufficient to suggest a boy is likely to grow up to become a sex offender,” study author and psychiatrist Arnon Bentovim tells WebMD. “But our study does show that abused boys who grow up in families where they are exposed to a great deal of violence or neglect are at particular risk.”
As I said, I’m not making excuses. I do remember the younger Sandusky being daddy’s ardent defender a few years ago, and I have to wonder whether he has some kind of Stockholm syndrome going on. I don’t know what kind of faulty wiring makes one think it’s OK to take sexual advantage of a child. I do know I wouldn’t be surprised if that bastard used his own kid as a sex toy, and in potentially doing so, he at the very least helped create the monster who today was charged with having sex with minors.
Damn these people! I feel unclean just having read and written about this.
I’m going to share something with you, my dear readers, that I don’t normally share. Obviously, those close to me know, but generally, I haven’t spoken about this publicly. The reason I’m doing so today is because many times, when you experience an indescribable tragedy, you feel alone. So alone!
Logically you know you aren’t the only one. Your rational mind tells you there are others, but your heart isolates you inside this cocoon of tragedy, agony, and loss. So you internalize and try to forget…
… Until you run across something so heartwrenching, so unreal through which one of your friends has suffered, that your own pain pales in comparison.
It happened yesterday, when my friend Chris posted something that made my breath catch. He graciously wrote this post that explores his unspeakable agony for me to publish, because I asked him to. Maybe I’m posting this as catharsis. Maybe it’s catharsis for both me and him.
In 2002, my daughter Jordan Nickole died at 32 weeks of gestation. It was a difficult pregnancy. We did amniocentesis because the OB found a large cyst or bubble that covered the entire back of her neck in an ultrasound, which denotes Turner Syndrome and can cause a panoply of medical and developmental problems, including short height, failure to start puberty, infertility, heart defects, certain learning disabilities and social adjustment problems. It means that the X chromosome is either completely or partially missing.
I was told I had the option of aborting if the test came back abnormal. We thought long and hard about it, but decided not to. The amnio came back negative, and as relieved as we were (I remember getting the call at work and getting dizzy and falling down on the floor weak with relief), the doctor watched me and Jordan closely from then on.
At 32 weeks, she couldn’t find a heartbeat. She tried several times, stayed late until after 1900 hrs., and finally sent me to the hospital.
Long story short, I was forced to give birth to a stillborn. I refused all night. I told them I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t do it. But in the end I had to.
For years, I pushed Jordan’s death to the back of my mind. And then Chris wrote this. Maybe it sounds monstrous, but I feel a little less alone.
I hope Chris does too.
This is a hard post to write. I’m not even sure of the reasons for writing it. I’ve had 14 years to process. Maybe I want to help someone else with my struggle. Maybe I want to just get it out. Maybe I just want someone to relate. I don’t know.
Interpret as you will. I’m not sure I care.
Usually when a person starts talking about regret, it’s in reference to some boneheaded mistake they’ve made in their lifetime, or the trip to Disney World they didn’t take.
For me, it was about looking for a piece of machinery.
Jessica Elise was born January 17th, 1994. Most people who take the time, either remember it as the California Earthquake or Ice-Storm#1 (There would be another icestorm in a few weeks that made this one look like a piker) Babs Streisand’s house got damaged. I remember that one acutely because I sincerely dislike Babs. Love her singing voice… don’t like her.
We knew things weren’t going to be “normal” with this one. Our son, bless his soul, had been a rough delivery and Jessica had been rough pregnancy. We’d seen doctors, and more doctors, and genetic experts and more tests and all we got were more questions.
We got answers that afternoon. The best answer is that we had a beautiful baby girl. Jessica Elise (“I will see the promise of God” loosely translated. I actually didn’t know that when we picked the name, but it actually makes a little sense now.) The not so good answer was that she was going to be a challenge, medically.
Jess was going to be a both a blessing and challenge. Micropthalmia meant she was never going to be able to see without some sort of “eyeball transplant” or Star Trek level technology. Esophageal Atresia meant surgery to connect stomach and esophagus so she could at least keep from drowning in her own saliva. So… challenges.
For eight and a half years, my wife, my son, our extended family and friends and I, and the people we came to know because of Jess faced the challenge of raising and helping that little girl live. That little girl who one OB/GYN told us would be a “monster,” and we ought to consider aborting her. The little girl who we were assured would never laugh, never talk, never walk, never love us back, and so we ought to allow “nature” to run its course and let her choke on her own spit and snot…which “might not be a bad thing.”
Sixty plus surgeries. Countless days and hours spent in hospital rooms and hallways. Hours hoping and praying for another breath on her own. Watching a pediatric nephrologist jumping for joy because she peed on her own because that meant her kidneys hadn’t failed.
Challenges and blessings.
Eight and a half years. How in the world do you try and recount all the amazing things you learn taking care of a baby like that? How do you recount all of the times when medical science was either flat out wrong in its predictions or flummoxed by a little girl with a snaggletoothed grin? (She lost two of her teeth during a surgery when the OR tech accidentally knocked them out during intubation.) How do you talk about the tears that roll down your face when your daughter, grabs your hand and desperately, frantically wants you to tell her that she’s “pretty girl” (using tactile sign) because her face was massively bruised from having eye socket expanders placed that day, and she had apparently heard her parents talking about how bad she looked (remember she wasn’t even going to be able to know we loved her)?
Having that little girl was the biggest challenge and one of the three greatest blessings I’ve ever known. My son and my wife are the other two.
Eight and a half years. That level of care will take it out of you. Even with help, it will drain you and exhaust you, mind, body and spirit. It drained all of us. We were happy to do it, glad to do it. You don’t do any less for someone you love, but there comes a time where there is nothing left to give.
There also comes a time where the body just will not work anymore. For most of us, that doesn’t happen until we reach a good ole age. But not for Jessica. For months, she had been having problems digesting food, getting weaker, getting sick easier. Looking back it’s easy to see the problems, but inside the storm it’s harder to make out, you just brace and wait for the next blast.
We’d all had it. We’d taken so many hits. We were tired. And when you’ve gotten that tired, you rely on, depend on, some sort of routine to maintain your sanity in an insane situation. That routine, almost a complacency, is dangerous. They say the most dangerous place to drive is right near your home. The reason is that you relax from the routine… you’ve driven this stretch so many times, you could do it in your sleep… right? Up until the deer jumps out from nowhere.
I was out of work but starting school for my degree. I was homeschooling Christopher and taking him with me on school days (we lived right down the street from the Christian College I was attending, and a classmate’s wife was more than happy to kind of ride herd on him with her own kids until I got out of class). Christine was working on the other side of Baltimore and thus had the only real working vehicle capable of hauling all of us. She hadn’t wanted to go, things weren’t “right,” but I made her go, so that she’d have some sort of “normal.”
The weekend had been abysmal. Jess was getting sick and was miserable. We almost couldn’t console her; we’d go into her room, quiet her down, put on her favorite music album and make sure everything was OK; then back out into the living room. Then an hour later do it again. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
She had gotten skeletally thin, like a prisoner of war or a famine victim. There was no muscle tone anymore. The peritoneal feeding went through her, literally. It was almost undigested.
She was breathing heavyly that day. She was probably getting an infection, I thought, as I changed her and her bedding that morning. I’ll keep an eye on her and maybe start getting things ready for a trip to the hospital.
By afternoon, I’d already contacted Christine and let her know that we were definitely gonna be doing an all-nighter at the hospital. “But don’t worry,” I said. “Don’t kill yourself getting home.”
“What are her SATs doing?” my wife asked.
“Not sure; I’ll dig the Pulse Oximeter out and run a check. (For those who don’t know, it’s that thing in the hospital you wear on your finger or two with the red light. It measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.) At least that way, we’ll have number to throw at the ER docs.”
Christopher was watching Buffy on TV as I started looking for Jess’s Pulse Ox. I had made sure the O2 cannula was in her nose earlier and had been running O2 during the day to see if her breathing would calm down. No dice.
Also, no Pulse OX. We had recently moved and were living out of boxes, but I could have sworn we’d used that Pulse OX since we moved in. I looked everywhere for that thing. I tore closets apart. I tore boxes apart. I re-tore boxes apart.
I looked in on Jess. She was breathing more labored now. She was nearly thrashing, she was in so much pain, from exactly what I don’t know, but it was breaking my heart to watch.
I had to take a break. I sat down and watched TV with Christopher for a little bit, trying to rack my brain where the machine was. I called her nurse that cared for her on weekends. Nope. Didn’t know. Hadn’t needed to use it.
I went back around the house, now frantically trying to find a piece of equipment that did not want to be found.
Christine called and had left work. Traffic around Baltimore being what it was, it was going to be an hour or more before she got home. I had to find that machine before she got home. I had to get the baby ready to go.
I went in and started stripping her down to give her a cleanup and new change of clothes. There was something really wrong. She was gasping for breath, even with O2. I had to find that damn machine.
I don’t know exactly how many minutes later it was. It couldn’t have been very long. Ten? Fifteen? I gave up on looking for the bloody thing and was just going to get her packed up.
The first thing I noticed is that she’d messed her bed. Well, that was “normal” for the day. I think I’d changed her bed at least four or five times. I also noticed that she was quiet. I went over to the crib and realized that she also wasn’t breathing. She was a very odd pale shade of… when they say blue, it’s not. It’s a weird pale.
Some people get hysterical when crap really goes wrong. I get very calm. It’s weird in its own way, I suppose. You can tell just how far it’s dropped in the pot, by how calm I am. I get bent out of shape by some of the most mundane things, but…
I told Christopher to call 911 and tell them to send an ambulance. I started doing CPR and begging her to cry or move or do something.
The EMTs didn’t take long to get there. I told them what the situation was, and they set to work. The police arrived at the same time… of course they did. I’ve been around enough LEOs and EMTs over the years to know the drill.
I calmly told them the event of the last however long it was and the name of Jessica’s doctor at Johns Hopkins where she was a patient.
I knew I was going to jail. The house was a wreck. I mean seriously a wreck. The baby’s room was a mess. She was nearly naked, covered in crap, pill bottles, medical supplies, boxes, clothes, everything was strewn everywhere during my search for the O2 monitor.
I was calm. Too calm. I was going to jail.
Didn’t really care.
No punishment could ever come close to what I was feeling. What I AM feeling even today.
My little girl died, and I wasn’t there.
I’ve said that before, and people invariably explain it away. But the bottom line is I WASN’T THERE. I will go to my grave and I will not ever feel good about that.
We spent eight and a half years preparing for the day she left us. Knowing it as a fact of life every day for eight and half years. And when the time came, was she surrounded by people who love her? Was her daddy there holding her hand and giving her to the angels. NO. She died alone in puddle of crap fighting for her next breath. How do you tell yourself that’s OK?
Intellectually, even in my faith I know that it worked out as it needed to. I want to believe, I DO believe that in her final moments God was with her. But it really doesn’t make a difference. Even if God WAS there, I wasn’t, and that’s what I regret. I probably always will.
You can say what you want. At this point I really don’t care.
I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m writing this, intending for someone to read. Some will probably say I’m looking for attention… maybe I am. Maybe I need someone to tell me one more time that it’s OK. Maybe I’ll believe it this time. Maybe I just want someone else to know that if they’ve gone through this, they’re not alone. A new set of friends lost their baby to miscarriage yesterday. I can’t say I know how they feel, but I know grief and regret, and the endless what-if’s.
I don’t know. Take from this what you will. Do with it what you will. I don’t give pat answers anymore. All I have is a hope. That I’ll see her again someday.
I miss my girl.
One more year, Jess. Miss you, pretty girl. Hopefully, I’ll be there sooner or later.
P.S. I found the Pulse Ox the day after the funeral when we returned to the house. It was sitting right on top of a box that I had torn apart several times looking for it.
Those of you who know anything about my past history, know that I adopted my two daughters from my half-brother, who died in 2006 from complications due to prolonged drug use, and his wife. You know the history. I won’t rehash it here. Needless to say, the kids had issues. A lot of them. But we felt they were innocent and needed a chance to thrive and be loved and cared for by parents whose first priority wasn’t to stick a needle in their veins.
This is why stories like this are so painful for me to read, and the subsequent reactions to stories like this enrage me to the point of losing control. It started out with police arriving on the scene of a drug overdose. One male, already dead, and a barely alive female. Their four children, ages 7, 5, 2, and one month were being comforted by neighbors.
An officer-in-training with [Michelle] Burton lent the two boys his flashlight; soon, the toddlers were running around, shining it in people’s faces.
The 7-year-old was quieter, Burton said. The officer asked if she needed anything.
The girl asked if someone could sign her homework, so she could turn it in to her teacher the next day.
“That broke my heart,” said Burton. “She said, ‘I did my work.’ She pulled it out and showed it to us. It was math homework, (like) ‘Which number is greater? Which number is odd or even?’ … I told her, ‘Sweetie, you probably won’t have to go to school tomorrow. … But where you’re going is going to have everything you need.’”
In the apartment, Burton found an unopened can of infant formula and a baby bottle; she grabbed both.
At the precinct, officers bought whatever the other kids wanted to eat from a vending machine. There, Burton removed her vest and other police gear so she could comfortably hold the infant and give her a bottle. It had to have been hours since she had been fed, Burton thought.
By all accounts it was a tender scene. Someone took a photo of Burton comforting the baby, and her husband posted it on social media, because he was proud of his wife. Apparently, she had a knack for comforting children in distress and was often called to accident scenes or any incidents involving families. On this particular night, Burton was two hours from the end of her shift, but she decided to stay and help.
She didn’t have to. She just did, apparently because she’s a decent person.
But being a decent person doesn’t shield you from screeching abuse from those who have an agenda. In this case, the children’s aunt and other unidentified family members decided to initiate backlash and take their howls of outrage to the Birmingham city council.
Instead of being grateful that this tiny infant was comforted in her time of need – when both parents stuck needles in their arms, instead of taking care of those who need them most, this toothless hag decided that the baby’s rights were somehow violated.
Mary Purnell Adalane, the aunt of the baby in the picture, spoke out at the Birmingham City Council meeting Tuesday. She said she and other family members felt like the baby, who’s just shy of two months old, was “exploited.”
“This child has a right and it’s been violated. This police officer exploited this child,” Adalane said. “No one gave them permission to take that picture.”
Adalane also added that some family members first learned about the baby’s parents overdosing by seeing the picture on social media.
Let’s examine this a bit closer. Mary Purnell Adalane has a problem with a husband posting a photo of his wife comforting a tiny, defenseless baby on social media.
Where the fuck was Mary Purnell Adalane when her sibling (I’m not sure if she’s related to the mother or the father) was shooting up?
Where the fuck were the other relatives who have an issue with this photo?
Where the fuck were these screeching shit weasels during their relatives’ obviously unhealthy habits? Heroin use isn’t exactly easy to keep a secret. Trust me. I’ve seen it.
Where the fuck were these loved ones when the children approached their neighbors for help because they couldn’t wake mommy and daddy?
If they learned about the OD via social media, they weren’t paying close attention to what was going on in these children’s lives beforehand.
Where were you, Mary Purnell Adalane and crew when your sibling(s) were using? Were you so clueless? Were you so uninterested?
Now, I fully realize that some people are better at hiding drug use than others, so there’s a small chance that they really were completely oblivious to the drug use and subsequent overdose. They might live far away, and just didn’t know. That’s totally possible too.
Frankly, my kids were living first in Ukraine, and then in Israel, and somehow we still knew that they needed to be rescued. Somehow we still knew that their parents were more concerned with their next fix than they were with the girls. So, I don’t accept that as an excuse. If you care about your family members, you make it your fucking business to know!
But moreover, how were this tiny baby’s rights “violated” by a husband posting a proud photo of his wife on social media? He posted no names, and merely showed a photo of his wife caring for a child that needed care. What right was violated? How is that exploitative?
You know what that baby has a right to? She has the right to be cared for. She has the right to be fed, and to be comforted in her time of need. She has the right to have someone hold her close and ensure she’s safe, fed, and loved.
(By the way – if anyone comes over here spewing political/libertarian rhetoric about what technically this infant’s rights are, I swear to fucking god, I’m going to throat punch the first motherfucker who does that! This is not what this post is about, and if you make it about that, you’re a heartless asshole.)
She received none of that from this shrieking, toothless cunt, who all of a sudden reared her repugnant face to claim the baby was “exploited” after the photo taken by a proud, loving husband of his wife going above and beyond to do her job and care for this poor little baby!
That tells me Mary Purnell Adalane and the unidentified shitbag relatives are out for media attention and a payoff. Mary Purnell Adalane and the shitgoblins related to these innocent, neglected children are the only ones doing the exploiting!
Something is really broken in our military. I don’t say this lightly, since I’m an Army veteran, but something is really wrong. In September 2015, I wrote about the travesty of the rape of little children that apparently goes unaddressed in Afghanistan and ignored by the powers that be, who instruct our troops to just shut their yaps about the issue. I said then, as I believe now, that silence is unacceptable, inaction is embarrassing, and the disciplining of any troop who follows his conscience and acts to protect the innocents unconscionable!
But that’s exactly what happened with SFC Charles Martland, who admits to having… disciplined… an
Afghan police commander child raping swine for having raped a little boy.
Martland’s “reward” for having followed his ethics and conscience, and for having protected an innocent child, which is ostensibly an honorable act by all standards, was to be flagged for involuntary separation through the Army’s qualitative management program.
That’s right. Booted out of the Army for doing what any other decent human being would have done.
Martland was scheduled to leave the Army no later than Nov. 1, 2015, after 11 years in the service. In October, he was granted a 60-day reprieve by then-Army Secretary John McHugh.
McHugh agreed at the time to postpone Martland’s discharge to allow the soldier to file an appeal with the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records.
The Army had until Tuesday to determine Martland’s fate.
This latest extension to May 1, which was first reported by Foreign Policy, is “to allow consideration of his application to correct his records by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson, an Army spokeswoman.
As a result, Martland “was granted further postponement of his discharge from active duty until not later than May 1, 2016,” she said.
Yes, I realize it’s another reprieve, but just the fact that he faces a discharge for doing the right thing is appalling to me!
Martland is a hero. He used force to protect an innocent child from an unspeakable horror of being sexually assaulted by a power-wielding adult!
He dedicated his life to serving and protecting his country, and he has done so with honor.
Soldiers get booted out of the military for all kinds of reasons. They may be overweight. They may not perform their duties to standard. They may not pass their physical fitness test. They may have had disciplinary infractions.
Martland was not one of them. He was, by all accounts, an exemplary NCO, and he did what any decent human being would do. The fact that he is being put through this garbage is outrageous and unjust.
At a time when experienced officers are retiring, and the Army is reducing troop numbers, wouldn’t it make sense to retain the best of the best?
Yes, we survived the blood moon. No we did not prep for the apocalypse. Yes, I did glance sideways at my zombie survival pack during “Fear the Walking Dead” last night.
But in the end, I rolled out of bed at zero-dark-thirty today, and headed out to earn a living.
Ever since the advent of smartphones, we’ve been listening to alleged “experts” tell us how these little computers are going to make our children stupid. They degrade communication. They make kids anti-social. They discourage active learning.
As I was driving to work this morning, I was listening to Brian and Larry on WMAL – the only morning talk show I can tolerate, as a former broadcaster – discussing this article from the Washington Post with their listeners. Now, I’m not a big radio call-in person, given the fact that I’m a former radio morning show host and news anchor, and I have no need to hear myself on the air, and I can only listen to WMAL up to a certain point in my commute before it starts to fade out, so I’m not sure where the discussion ended up, but I will say, I’ve never wanted so badly to call in as I did this morning.
A couple of Fairfax County, VA teachers are writing a book about the decline in kids’ ability to communicate and reason as the result of digital technologies.
“They are good at telling me the who, what, where and when — anything Google can tell them…The ability to make connections seems to have vanished.”[…]
They say the free periods that are part of their school schedule have deteriorated from lively talk among students and teachers to silent screen reading, each student in a little world. Online homework assignments are taking twice as long as they would if the student read a paper textbook, because programs are sometimes difficult to load and students cannot resist the temptation to play around on the same devices.
I can see how this would be disturbing. I find myself doing the same thing – playing around on the device until the information I need loads, because I get bored waiting. I get it. I also understand the concern about the inability to make connections with other humans. I find texting and emailing much more comfortable than face-to-face interaction, but that may be because I’m a painful introvert, who finds it agonizing to spend time in crowds, and who has to take a day to decompress after any social event.
I do get it.
But ultimately, I think the onus of ensuring that your kids don’t grow up to be socially deficient and downright stupid because they spend their days with their faces buried in their electronics, is on you as a parent.
I hate the dumb texting shortcuts kids use today to communicate, so I ensured that my children used proper English – even in emails and text messages. Yes, I did correct their grammar and syntax. Yes, I did force them to use full words, instead of the usual “how r u?” garbage. And when they fell into using what I call “textard” in their written communication with me, my usual response to said text was, “SPEAK ENGLISH!”
Yes, they learned, and yes, to this day, I get complete sentences, correct grammar, and good spelling even in text messages. My kids write lengthy texts, because I taught them that clear communication is important and even the occasional slip in grammar and spelling will be corrected to ensure they understand their mistakes.
I understood that the parents of today have to keep up with technology if they want to remain close to their offspring. Yes, I text. Yes, I send them funny pictures from my phone. Yes, I communicate with Daniel via FaceTime (Sarah has an Android phone, so she doesn’t have the app). Technology allows me to remain close with my kids and to communicate with them instantly. I learned how to use it, because a) it is convenient, and b) because I know they do, and I’d rather learn to take full advantage of these technologies in order to stay in touch with them, than resist and risk losing that closeness we have.
As for the concerns about making connections, I’m not sure they’re valid, and I think they’re completely dependent on other factors in the home. I insisted that when either or both kids were home, we’d have dinner together. Dinner wasn’t a time to play on your phone, but to eat and hang out with your family. There were a few times I would yell at Danny to put the damn phone down, and there were a few times he yelled at me for the same thing, but generally speaking, we communicated and had relationships outside that little screen.
The relationships between parents and kids are the basis for their other human interactions. Danny has friends with whom he has formed what I hope will be lasting bonds. These friendships aren’t based in texts and snapchats, but are supplemented and supported by those platforms, and allow the kids to keep in touch – especially now that they’re in different colleges, miles away from one another. In other words, teach the kid to have solid human interactions at home, and they will have solid human interactions outside of the home. Once those are established, the phone becomes a tool to facilitate those personal interactions, instead of a substitute for them.
The other advantage of kids texting to one another is that it allows them the time to examine what their friend said in detail and craft their answer accordingly, instead of rambling over one another without actually listening to what their interlocutor said. I find myself looking closer at what Danny and Sarah write, and reading it several times to ensure I understand their meaning before replying. In a text message they take more time to respond to one another, and ostensibly, they make more effort to respond correctly and completely.
The one thing that does concern me is the passive learning kids seem to do when heavily integrated with these technologies. Got a question? They’ll search for the answer on their phones and provide it toute suite. The problem is that they essentially suck up information without exercising their ability to analyze it. It’s easy to Google a reply, but can you extricate logical conclusions from said information? Can you look at the answer you just found on the Internet and understand the “why” and the “how,” instead of just the “what”?
Learning is not and should not be just siphoning information from the web and regurgitating the answer at test time. The smart phone will not teach kids how to assess the information they are seeing, nor will it teach them to glean important points from it or even judge its accuracy. Hence the prevalence of all sorts of false memes on the Internet. We have forgotten how to do actual research, and that’s worrisome. It’s one thing to be able to Google some keywords or phrases, but it’s quite another to be able to analyze the content and judge its veracity. This, more than anything, is where I worry my kids will fall behind. I taught them as much as I could, but the attraction of the technology is that it makes research easy. Unfortunately, it leaves logical assessments and judgments in the dust, and that, in my uneducated opinion, is what we really need to worry about.
As for collaboration and conversation, I think the smartphone can be an invaluable tool, and the panic about these gadgets making kids dumb is a bit overblown.