Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents

“A mother in Richmond, Virginia, is raising concerns about the use of laptop computers in her son’s high school. She says she is not the only parent whose worries about uncontrolled usage of the computers are being ignored by school officials,” Jim Brown and Jody Brown report for AgapePress.

“Three years ago, Henrico became the first county in the nation to purchase laptops for every secondary school student in the district. The school system signed a four-year, $24.2-million lease for the laptops as part of its vision to “close the digital divide.” The purchase of 23,000 iBooks, according to manufacturer Apple, constituted the single largest sale of portable computers in education ever,” Brown and Brown report.

“Under the school’s guidelines, students pay only a minimal insurance fee that covers loss, theft, or damage to the computer, and they have the option to purchase their laptop after four years at a reduced cost,” Brown and Brown report. “But Sally Booth, whose son attends Godwin High, says the policy was put in place quickly and without measures to block pornography. The Virginia mom contends that instead of furthering education, the multi-million-dollar investment has led to problems with students viewing porn, hacking into grades, and cheating.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These sound like problems originating with the computer operators, not with the iBooks themselves. Perhaps the concerned parents should have worked harder on their respective computer operators upbringing? Then they’d realize that cheating, playing games, viewing porn, etc. on laptops provided by their school are not the proper things to do?


  1. First post AGAIN!!! I am like twice as bad-ass today!! I feel sorry for all of you out there who don’t have the bad ass mojo going on like me. I am the king of being bad ass.

  2. “First post AGAIN!!! I am like twice as bad-ass today!! I feel sorry for all of you out there who don’t have the bad ass mojo going on like me. I am the king of being bad ass.”

    GET A LIFE!!

  3. Looks like some side effects are presenting themselves in this grand experiment. Is anybody really surprised that students are being…students? That’s what kids do, they undermine authority and see what they can get away with. It’s natural behavior and as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their education, I think these parents have to get thicker skins.

  4. A computer at school is a tool and parents should teach their kids what they should and should not do with that tool. A kid could take a pair of pliers (a tool) and remove their friend’s teeth, but they are aware of the consequences. If parents would simply look at what thier kids are doing with their computers and lay down serious consequences, kids might think twice.
    These rich snotty soccermoms want to keep their kids in a bubble, raising ignorant, uninformed kids. Kids can get in trouble in a million different ways, but for some reason, these parents have a way of placing blame rather than taking responsibility. Education does not stop when the schoolbell rings. Parents need to take more responsibility and quit expecting our overworked teachers to babysit.

  5. I think parents should spend more time with thier children.
    I Know it’s dificult (jobs etc.)
    if your gonna let the tv or the internet educate your childrens then you are gonna be in trouble.
    When it comes to cheating it’s been around before laptops.
    And kids have been using their (paper) notebook to draw all kinds of pictures of the human body, and pass answers to each other.
    Besides what better way to cheat than using Apple’s Rendezvous.

  6. The schools should treat the problem the same way businesses treat it. They keep tabs on who’s doing what and if someone is getting really out of hand they fire em (or kick them out of school as the case may be). Parents are always talking about teaching their kids about the real world – well that’s the real world and those are “real world” consequences.

  7. A really can’t understand when parents like this lady get all angry because their teenage sons look at pornography. They’re teenage boys, that’s what they do. I know the iBooks are school property, but if I were her, I’d much rather find a couple of pics on the computer than a stack of sticky magazines under the bed.

    Mind you, she’ll probably find the sticky magazines too if she looks hard enough. Dirty little brats ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  8. My child says that there are obsenities written on the toliet walls at his school which he is exposed to every time he needs to go.

    Was a proper study done before it was decided to put up walls around the toilets? Who’s responsible for this? Who decides on school policy which can corrupt my innocent child?

  9. “These sound like problems originating with the computer operators, not with the iBooks themselves.”

    Actually, it sounds more like poor parenting. I’m sorry Mrs. Booth but it is your responsibility to teach values and morals to your children, not the schools. If you aren’t ready to accept that perhaps you aren’t ready to have children.

  10. Dave H:

    Thanks for putting the vision of sticky magazines in my head – I remember why I’m such a fan of laminating now.


    Seriously though, if she was that concerned why isn’t she using AOL as an ISP so that she can restrict where her boy can go on the Internet. Or use NetNanny. Or just sit down with her teenager and explain that he’s been given a privilege, which he will devalue if he abuses that the school has placed in him.

    No, better to moan about things.

  11. “My child says that there are obsenities written on the toliet walls at his school which he is exposed to every time he needs to go.”

    Well, the difference is that the school can clean the walls of the bathroom. Can the school clean out kids’ iBooks? Random iBook checks to make sure that the kids aren’t storing things on there which are unrelated to school?

    I do see her argument. Some friends of mine, with kids, have their personal computer sitting in the living room. This keeps “inappropriate use” down because Mom or Dad could walk in at any time. When they saw my roomate using her iBook anywhere in the house, they thought it was really cool but they didn’t like the idea of their kid being able to take the computer into her bedroom and lock the door.

    I don’t know the specifics of the situation, but you could argue that she’s a parent trying to do what she can in limiting her kid’s access to such material as pornography. And here’s the school system giving her kid a whole new way to access “inappropriate content” that she can’t control.

    She could buy Norton Internet Security, NetBarrier, or Kids GoGoGo and keep her kid from accessing those sites (although there are always ways around that). But who should pay for it? Should the schools provide it? Should the schools install it? Do we leave it to the parents who wish to block their kids access? Perhaps the iBooks should be set up for the parents and the school system to administer and the kids are not given the admin password.

  12. Personal responsibility is all but extinct in this country.

    It’s always some one else’s fault. Never a thought given to bad parenting, poor supervision/discipline.

    No wonder the country is going down the toilet in the fast lane.

  13. What’s needed is supervision, with discipline for those who try to subvert the system, and encourgement for those who try to learn.

    For example, at my University, I learned how to take advantage of the poorly secured macs and change the root passwords on them if I wanted to do things on them. I wasn’t actually hurting them – I only used it to install security updates, os updates, legit software, etc.

  14. We are all victims and someone else is responsible. Shame on MDN for trying to pin the responsibility for the childrens’ mistakes on their parents inability to raise them correctly. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Personal responsibility is alive and well within MDN editors.


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