At first glance, it reads like a brilliant idea. Some schools are adding Wi-Fi capabilities to their school buses so kids can do their work on the go. Who doesn't want their kid doing something useful with their time, right?
Well, that all depends on what you consider useful. Is looking at porn useful?
Oooh, giant leap! How'd I get there?
School buses are like the wild west. You've got -- at best, in districts with some extra cash -- a driver in the front and a monitor for all those kids. But the very measures that have made school buses safer in crashes -- those high seats -- have made it hard to really monitor what exactly kids are doing in those seats. Especially savvy teenagers who know enough to hide their misdeeds from the monitor.
So just picture it: you give the average teenager unfettered access to the Internet and tell them to do work. How many do you think will actually do said work? For the entire bus ride? Or will they be surfing elsewhere?
Have you met a teenager? Knowing kids, it's almost a guarantee that they'll go off script.
In some districts, kids get district-purchased gadgets to access the Internet, gadgets we'd hope have parental controls. But what about the kids accessing the Internet with their own gadgetry?
When we begin allowing Internet access on school buses, we open the doors for kids to bring in their own laptops, tablets, and more. Some parents may be wise and load said gadgets with safety precautions, but what of the parents who don't? Just one kid with the freedom to surf anywhere they want can share something seriously disturbing with their seatmate, and the lack of monitoring on school buses makes it unlikely that the adults would be any wiser.
I'm all for coming up with options to make the bus rides run more smoothly and reduce headaches for the drivers. But if my kid's school starts talking Wi-Fi on the bus, I have three words for them: "no, thank you."
Do you think adding Wi-Fi to school buses is a smart idea or a disaster waiting to happen?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr