It’s interesting that this surveillance is banned in France because teachers and pupils have « a right to privacy »: https://www.cnil.fr/fr/la-videosurveillance-videoprotection-...
The literature list from this paper might be a good place to start looking.
I don't have any data or anything, but I think that brain development is not even complete until well after 12th grade in humans. In particular, I think the ability to self regulate is compromised.
So here's the thing, the people doing all this are child development experts, so they would know all about brain development. A lot more than myself. In a very real way, these guys have made it a policy to monitor children who they know very well will likely not change their behaviors due to being monitored. So you have to wonder if this is just more about attribution and the ability to justify punishments? Just administrators playing CYA?
"No ma'am. We know it was your son who assaulted that girl. Here's the video for your perusal."
"No son. We know you said so and so to that other student over there. Here's the video."
"No sir. That was definitely your daughter fighting over there. Here's the video."
Etc etc etc.
So in answer to your question, "No." Children will not change their behavior. Certainly not at the mean.
Welcome any corrections from any child dev experts on HN if I'm wrong about brain development in children.
But are they ? Do we have any indication that this is the case ? Those tech companies could just be after what they see is money and not be based on any science (as it’s often the case).
From Gaggle’s website: « You are invading my child’s privacy! Well, aren’t you?
Most educators and attorneys will tell you that when your child is using school-provided technology, there should be no expectation of privacy. In fact, your child’s school is legally required by federal law (Children's Internet Protection Act) to protect children from accessing obscene or harmful content over the Internet.".
This is the worst straw man argument I have seen in a long time. You can prevent my kid from seeing porn without reading everything she does.
Well, that's true.
I guess I just assumed people would be doing all this in step with some theory or principles of child development that indicated that this would be effective?
Maybe I'm giving way too much credit.
You are right on the money, myelin sheath development isn't complete until 25 - 30 years of age and is critical for executive function.
12th grade is seriously lowballing it as well.
The human brain doesn't stop developing until well into our mid-twenties, and there is still some plasticity even after that.
Is that the case?
Whether or not some rulebreaking will happen on-camera doesn't preclude the possibility that children do change their behavior while being monitored, nor prove that constant monitoring will have no effect on their psyche.
It isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine an authoritarian government using our own surveillance video for nefarious purposes.
It is easy to opt for more surveillance until it comes around to bite you.
There are mountains of evidence demonstrating that people change their behaviors when they know they are being watched. Do we really care about the automatic resolution of petty squabbles between children, or even the coercion of children to never engage in petty squabbles? Do we really want to rob children of mischief, conflict resolution, and making a case for themselves in a way that cannot always be substantiated with hard evidence? Do we really want to condition young minds to see a constant surveillance as a kind of benevolent security blanket?
And that's not even all that's at stake. The Overton window is shrinking as it is, and academia has adopted a censorious and puritanical orthodoxy. Classes benefit a great deal from the students who care enough to challenge what is presented as de facto truth, but I'm inclined to believe that this will give a basis to silence that behavior. Looking back on my own experiences, would I have felt comfortable speaking out against teachers if I knew I was under surveillance? I'm not so sure. But in most cases, even the teachers themselves often told me that they were happy to have somebody engage them meaningfully. But some weren't so happy, and those are the ones that have a new channel for abuse.
And what about the teachers? Some of the best teachers I had would've been fired for what they taught, or allowed students to do. Allowing controversial class discussions, sometimes among students bordering too young to handle the subject matter. Doing a dangerous chemistry or physics demonstration that bends the rules slightly. A classroom led by a cheeky teacher was often ruined by the superintendent or principal standing in the doorway. Now they're in the doorway 24/7.
And this is an elementary classroom- resolution of petty squabbles means 28 kids don't get to learn while 2 others yell 'he did it first'. They can be beasts to each other at recess.
You must do PR for the NSA.
And don't think I don't see the potential for abuse, but I see the potential for abuse in basically everything. You have to give organizations the benefit of the doubt the same way you do individuals.
Why? I don't normally like being overly contrarian, but in this case this position is so naive that I just can't think of a good reason to do what you're proposing. Especially in the US (and certain other problematic countries) you really should know better than to trust an organisation with sensitive information.
This is not reality. Even with access restrictions in place, people are going to weigh the pros and cons of watching the video to achieve their own ends.
Who might watch it? A supervisor or coworker with a vendetta. A student/teacher obsessed with a student/teacher. A pedophile. A teacher looking to silence a challenging (but not problematic) student. A racist looking to have a particular student removed. A student looking for embarrassing things about other students to post online. etc. etc.
You're right. Now, nobody watches unless something happens.
And then some shifty SV startup starts selling ML studentcams that determine what "bad" is. Of course, questioning the ML is verboten. It made the decision and you cannot ask why.
Good luck ever getting an official to do anything for you. If it does not benefit them or the system, they never have the time or authority to do it. The surveillance is to benefit the state, not the surveilled.
I want to highlight the tension between liberty & socialization here, because I think it's getting glossed over. Public education is a huge infringement on individual liberty - it's basically mandatory brainwashing of kids for 6-8 hours/day, 180 days/year, for 12 years. Nobody would realistically suggest getting rid of it, because we all grew up with it.
Taking it back a step, parenting is also an infringement on individual liberty - a child is totally dependent upon a parent, and oftentimes exposed to nothing other than the parent's views, and is biologically hard-wired to pick up on a parent's emotions and mirror them. Can't really blame society for that, though, evolution did it.
People who worry about the slippery slope are right to worry. But it's been going on for centuries. We think that our particular point on it is natural and right because that's what we grew up with, just as our kids might think pervasive surveillance is natural and right because that's what they grew up with - which is exactly what we're justifiably afraid of. If we lived on individual farming homesteads and someone proposed taking our kids away from us for the majority of their waking childhood, we'd probably be even more upset.
Probably the endgame is like the Matrix, where humans are confined to individual pods with no agency of their own, except that instead of being tapped for bio-energy we'll end up being used to train machine-learning algorithms.
Having kids or taking care of mentally declining parents tends to put a big dent in that. Or working in other situations where you commonly interact with people who are clearly no good on their own. However much lip service we might pay to it, respect for Autonomy and Individual Agency only goes so far when people are doing what's Clearly The Wrong Thing, then you have to decide when to step in.
Group decision-making is messier but in many ways more realistic. It isn't necessarily dystopian, though someone thinking in purely individualistic terms might see at as such.
I'm pointing out that there's a continuum between total individual liberty, where everybody does exactly what they want, and living in a larger society of people, where your actions affect others and there need to be some sort of constraints on them. We've been picking points along this continuum for centuries, and sliding slowly towards more restrictions on individual liberty for the benefit of society simply because population density is higher now. The point we're at now, where we accept that giving your children over to an institution to be raised for half their waking childhood is normal but cameras in the classroom are abhorrent, is an arbitrary artifact of what we grew up with in our own childhoods. In the next generation, perhaps they'll view cameras in the classroom as normal but Matrix-style pods as abhorrent. Someday perhaps they just won't think, the same way a mitochondria (once an independent organism!) doesn't think too much about being a component of our cellular makeup.
Some of the HN commenters are counting down the days until someone founds a libertarian utopian moon colony.
- Algorithms do (or will pretty soon )
We definitely know that kids change their behavior when being watched, but most of the time we call that "parenting".
Religion is a heck of a thing
Then why do many students and young people post photo evidence of them engaging in illegal activity on social media? I don't think it would make much of a difference. Besides we're on camera in most places of commerce and in large cities, pretty much all the time.
> Do we really want to rob children of mischief, conflict resolution, and making a case for themselves in a way that cannot always be substantiated with hard evidence... Some of the best teachers I had would've been fired for what they taught, or allowed students to do.
I think you're romanticizing what goes on in a modern US school. No one is going to go after children for small mischief. They don't go after them now because its just not worth it not because they can't catch them doing petty infractions. As for the teachers, for every great teacher having controversial and important discussions with their students, there are 9 that just roll in a TV to watch a movie about once a week.
The 10% are the ones that had the biggest impact on me as a student. They are also the ones most likely to be affected by the cameras. Hell, even in the 1990s, my European History teacher flat out said (paraphrasing), "I'd have to quit if they ever installed a camera in here. It wouldn't even work for measuring how I perform, because even if the students didn't know the cameras were in here, I would know. And it would affect how I teach things just as much as if the principal was sitting in the back row."
They never said being watched exclusively changes behaviour for the better.
Maybe adults do, but I seriously doubt children do.
Maybe some child dev experts on HN could chime in here, but my understanding was that brain development is not complete until well after 18 years in humans. Not only that, but the ability to self regulate is particularly compromised in children.
Now I could be wrong. And, as I said, I welcome the child dev guys to chime in here, but I think these people are literally recording children who, because of human neurobiology, are unlikely to regulate due to the recording.
And I think the people doing the recording know that.
I grew up in an environment like that, my paranoid parents were a fan of security cameras all over the house because we grew up in a "risky" area. The cameras definitely led to a feeling of being mentally caged in, always being watched and worried about doing something wrong.
The Black Mirror "Arkangel" episode is a good commentary on omnipresent childhood surveillance...
...justified by "solving" various conflicts in the classroom, conflicts that have root causes like large class sizes, social issues, stressful environments, overbearing parents, disrespected teachers or whatever - so we just build an panopticon?
Right now I can't even imagine watching surveillance video like that, seeing all kinds of reactions and emotions of people, of children interacting; what right do I have to systematically observe without them knowing?
Screw all of that. Spend any amound of money to have small class sizes, pay teachers better, make schools friendly and welcoming, have more counselors around or whatever.
But please throw out those cameras.
I share your strong distaste for surveiling children, but I don't think throwing money at the problem is a good solution either. there are plenty of well funded elite private schools that do everything you suggest, but still have severe bullying problems.
My wife's job is not to be the total arbiter of social justice for her students, it is to provide them with an education.
Are the childrens' parents aware of the consequences of the cameras? That every tiny little move in the formative phase of their children's lifes is recorded for all eternity, and that data generally tends to leak, and all kinds of entities want access?
It is data. People were surprised when 1980s-era USENET forum posts where made accessible a few years ago. Back then it was unfathomable that this data would be searchable and accessible or even relevant, but it was. Same with our data now: it will be analyzed in ways we cannot even imagine.
I am stunned by how quickly surveillance spreads.
Just ask any US Democrat talking about race relations in the 1950s.
I don't think anybody's saying that a particular teacher or administrator is to blame, but the original anecdote you shared is a bit chilling if you grew up expecting your childhood misdeeds to be forgotten over time. I remember that the most frightening thing the principal could say to you was "This is going in your permanent record"; the expectation otherwise was that it wasn't.
Data is extremely persistent and it's very easy to forget this.
Whew. That's a lot of labeling! And the solution is to build evidence to be used against these tiny criminals.
Rather than just presume the kids are little shits on purpose and recording them to prove it, why not ask the kid what's going on at home? I'd bet real money that "lack of discipline" maps pretty closely to "lack of a stable home environment".
If you want to point out that this doesn't help Timmy, I'd agree. It does help the other 29 kids in the class, their parents, the teacher, and admin though.
Then it helps the other 22 kids in the class.
What's the endgame? Do you suspend half the kids in the classroom because they're causing a disturbance for the other half?
Something this whole argument misses is that school is a great mechanism to teach kids to interact with each other and learn to solve problems.
It's a bad idea to teach kids that everything is always black and white.
Yes, you do!
> that school is a great mechanism to teach kids to interact with each other and learn to solve problems.
What kind of utopian school did you go to? None of my schools did this, at _all_.
[EDIT] incidentally I'm baffled that so many schools allow phones in the building at all, let alone students to carry them to class as they're every bit as disruptive as one would think, but I gather that's another "pressure from loud, shitty parents" decision.
What we really need is the ability for teachers to evict unruly students without having to build a multi-month evidence file. A classroom is a place to learn and there should be zero tolerance for repeat offenders. We're putting so much in the hands of teacher's as it is; giving them the option to judge behavior isn't a stretch.
To people who say that's too much power for the teachers (ex: "It's not fair! She had it in for my kid from day one!") I say phooey. Odds are your kid really is a disruptive jerk. And if a teacher truly is the problem the answer to that is to be able to fire teachers as well.
Surely lack of adequate funding, crumbling infrastructure, out-of-date textbooks or lack of textbooks, bad curricula, a highly regimented and normative model of education (with "normal" kids and "problem" kids) and many other things could be judged to be more significant issues than "lack of discipline", which might be slapped on as a label to basically any issue that causes conflict. "Well, if only the children [ i.e., non-adults who literally lack executive function and cannot control their behavior ] were more disciplined, things would be fine."
Primary school aged children have plenty of executive function. We’re not talking about daycares for toddlers. Americans just have very low expectations for discipline. Have you ever seen the inside of a classroom in Asia?
Sure, your example of conflict resolution seems nice but there is no crisis of "who started it" that needs this level of intrusion. Truth is these classroom conflicts almost never have a clear cut instigation point. I guarantee you a bully will figure out how to egg another student on outside of the camera's view and then slyly provoke that student when the tape is rolling. These conflicts start outside, on the sidewalk, last week, on the internet ect. These are complex social dynamics that are best dealt with using the teacher's training and experience combined with addition school staff when needed.
Her classroom is a friendly place where students learn a second language. It must be protected from this.
however, i do worry about fights and bullying being taken to 'the dark corners of the school' such as the bathroom or some unused stairwell
1) They did that a lot back in the "old days" anyway, since it was away from other people
2) bullies usually have poor impulse control and don't think immediately about the consequences of their actions, so they frequently won't think about the cameras, so at least some of the time they'll do their bullying in view of the cameras.
Most people who have had more than one kid, or who have supervised children in any capacity, know that some of them will make a game of setting up the other to get blame for something the first one started.
Maybe you're relatively young, but I'd wager the old heads among us remember the days when these things were settled out at the bike racks. So that worry was already happening, and had been happening for a very long time.
That is easily solveable: Video surveillance in unused stairwells and bathrooms (ideally individual stalls).
What, suddenly people have problems with that? A panopticum only works when the threat of surveillance is ever-present.
Police also loves more surveillance. The push against surveillance tries not to help the (maybe benevolent) oppressor, but the (potential) oppressed.
I'd also feel uneasy at normalizing such surveillance for my kids. I'd like them to be able to sort a dispute without recourse to a video that won't always be there. Family disputes can often have an emotional dimension too, one that simply playing back a cold video account of the event won't resolve.
We re-assessed every year and decided with the kids what their education environment would look like each year.
One of them, our extremely musical daughter flipped between homeschool, private and public school several times until we found a university model school that worked well with her needs (lots of schedule flexibility to do extra-curricular music things).
You don't have to choose one way and stick with it. Your children's needs will change in ways unique to each of your kids.
[Edit] Also, schools change year to year depending on staff and pupil turnover. There's no honor in torturing your kid with a school situation that is just not working for them, especially if you have other options.
Usually at least two of them were in the same school. The oldest three were each 18 months part, and the youngest was three years younger than the next oldest sibling.
I took some, wife took others, ride share, public transportation (the kids in public school rode the city bus). The kids also learned to be okay with the idea that they might not get picked up as soon as school let out, or they might have to get dropped off half an hour (or more) before school started. They learned to deal with it the same way my wife and I did when we were their age.
All of which became phenomenally easier as they got old enough to drive themselves (and their younger siblings).
It was a lot of juggling, but it was still less work than homeschooling all four of them (which we did for a couple of years), and they generally didn't start going completely separate directions until they hit high school age.
Private: We didn't see an upside in our region. Public schools are excellent. The local private schools don't perform materially better (once you adjust for public schools being required to serve low-income and special needs students). Downtown private schools would have had an upside, but at great expense ($35k+/year) - we thought saving that money for college was a better idea.
Public - we chose to live in an area with excellent public schools (both because of the schools, but also proximity to jobs, liked the area, etc).
Public schools have their problems. But most can be mitigated by "voting with your feet", paying attention to local politics, and being actively engaged with the school.
I would like to note that this is tantamount to voting with your wallet. Areas with more expensive housing will have better public schools.
And also said knowing full well that moving is neither easy nor cheap when a family is involved.
Some actual variety among the good schools where some truly are better, but the vast majority of the difference across the whole spectrum is selection bias, if we're talking graduation rates, college entrance outcomes, test scores, that kind of thing. All the usual measures.
[EDIT] point is, the main thing you're paying for is for your kid to be around other kids whose parents could also afford to pay more for housing, plus keep a couple cars running regularly to handle the commute, and so on, whatever the barriers happen to be for the district/schools in question.
My wife was actually a teacher in the local district before we had kids, so we know how things go down.
The key is parent involvement. The more involved you are with the school, the more you'll hear about how your kid is actually doing "through the grapevine" which will give you a chance to address any issues at home.
My wife plans to volunteer most days of the week, and I will also try to go at least once or twice a week in the morning.
I know that is not suitable for everyone, because you have to have the flexibility to do that, and I know I'm very lucky that we have that flexibility.
- The adult tending the bus line who berated our daughter when her name was called but she didn't respond because her name was mispronounced and she didn't recognize it.
- The teacher who disciplined our daughter who was an advanced reader and finished a story quickly and then offered to help another student who was struggling but this wasn't allowed in the classroom.
- The immense amount of time wasted between classes not teaching.
- The music teacher who thought young kids were incapable of learning to read sheet music and had made up his own notation system.
- The teacher who was 8 months pregnant who would shortly leave the classroom and then there would be a series of substitutes with no continuity for the students.
And on and on.
Anyway, it worked well for us. It doesn't for everyone. My wife and our kids got along well. My kids turned out to be pretty good students. We could afford it. My wife who was otherwise unemployed enjoyed it.
We leveraged a ton of external resources: joined a secular homeschool group, co-op teaching, outside language and music teachers, extension classes offered by local science museums and universities, online courses, had our kids take a yearly standardized test to measure their progress, registered with the state as a homeschool, kept diligent records, kids did summer camps, karate, dance, were on sports teams, etc. I never would have guessed how booked our calendar became. I sometimes think we would have had more time to do things as a family if they'd stayed in public school. There's this idea you can take offseason vacations but this doesn't really work out because everything else you have your kids do is tied to a traditional school calendar.
It's a huge commitment and was a full time job for my wife. My son expressed some desire to go to high school but later changed his mind.
Anyway, you can try a year of homeschool and see how it works for you. We know lots of families who did both. For some it didn't work because the parent/child relationship isn't the same as teacher/student and for some of our friends the latter just didn't work out.
Also: there are many styles of homeschooling. Some will run things just like a traditional school but at home: fixed lesson plans, schedule, room to learn in, etc. At the other end you have unschooling. We took a middle ground. My wife has a lesson plan for the year, breaks it down by week. But we give our kids flexibility on each day. As they got older my wife would just put their daily or weekly tasks on a whiteboard and leave it to them to complete:
2) Private's often as bad or worse—just being private doesn't mean it's an improvement. Private schools often pay worse than public (total comp) so consider what sort of employee pool they're drawing from. The exceptions tend to be the "prep" variety which are less common and are eye-wateringly expensive unless you're fairly poor (most have generous scholarships) but nonetheless capable of raising a kid who the admissions folks (for whatever reason) like. If you can't afford even-more-expensive boarding schools you're probably looking at just a couple quality private schools in a given city in most cases, if any, and they may not be close to your house. Exceptions include some (only some, you gotta do your homework) Catholic schools, though you may have trouble getting in and will likely pay more if your family's not Catholic—there's a process, and you can probably fake your way in, but it'll take time and commitment and planning in advance by at least a year, I'd say, plus you gotta be comfortable, you know, repeatedly lying to clergy. If you want something that breaks out of the typical mold you're either talking seminar-type classes (so, prep, expensive, and not available everywhere) or hippy-dippy might-work-for-your-kids-hard-to-say-until-you-try unschool-alike stuff (still not cheap).
3) Homeschool's wicked-expensive too if you're losing a salary for it, especially with just one or two kids. Not every parent's cut out for being home alone with the kiddos every day, all year, too. Some are, some aren't, may not figure it out until you try. Also not everyone's great at teaching though if your kids are above-average in the intelligence department it's not hard to at least do better than your average public school, given the pace they move at and the much worse instructor-to-student ratio. It's real work, though, regardless.
Exceptions all over for the above I'm sure, but that's the gist. We're doing public. I kinda hate it but the other options are out of reach for one reason or another.
[1 EDIT] by "typical mold" I mean isn't structured more or less the same as public school.
as an aside unschooling often gets neglected from the public/private/homeschool dichotomy, for certain personality types it may actually work better than the other three although i can see why it is a somewhat terrifying option to consider.
Essentially that seems to be the pattern of resolution of changes - sometimes applied recursively in a cyclic way. One example is baroque vs austere in church design and iconoclasm.
I am hoping for teenaged ones to gain dominance since the people who look at the surveillance and say "What the fuck is wrong with you - you are literally acting like antagonists in a young adult science fiction dystopia!" seem to be a minority in influence currently.
Not because they cost money (I am willing to pay), but because it's not practical to buy an online subscription to 10+ major news sites individually.
Is there a service that lets you pay 1 monthly fee for a subscription to the top 10 major (paywalled) news sites?
Maybe the news orgs need to do the same thing. Create a federated login system with a single payment and then divvy up the funds in some fair way.
This is in the FAQ at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html and there's more explanation here:
Yea.. the purpose of this comment was to ask if there's a way to pay for these paywalls to permanently bypass them.
And there were some useful replies: I haven't looked into Apple News Plus before. Thanks for the reply, jbigelow76 and runwerks
And sorry Daniel. I guess I should have posted an Ask HN instead.
If trust can be restored I will pay. I will not pay for bullshit.
Individually subscribing to 10 different paywalled news sites is not going to happen among the general public. Paying exactly the same aggregate monthly price for all ten, via just one redistributor, is more tolerable, especially if the customer can individually select subscriptions without forced bundling. Subscribe by checking this box; unsubscribe by unchecking it.
If I can sign up online, but have to cancel with at least one phone call guaranteed to last 30 minutes or more, I don't care if it's only $0.05 a month; I'm not buying it. It's not always the money cost. Sometimes it's the cognitive overhead or transaction friction. My use of the Internet lately seems to be governed more by the number of accounts I am willing to manage than by how much I am willing to pay, and the fragmentation is going to kill some of the sites that can't solve that problem.
When the NYT is in full control of its own paywall, you get nonsense like described here: https://dannysullivan.com/new-york-times-subscription-3480 , where it's cheaper to buy the print version and just throw it away to get past the paywall, than to get the unlimited digital subscription. And this is likely fueled by a dark pattern: in order to get a price for print delivery, you have to call a phone number during NYC business hours, whereas you can just click to get an offer for all-digital access. It's only $8/4 weeks right now, which seems like a good money value, but I'm just not in the mood to worry about yet another website login.