Positive Trumps Prohibition

Recognize this guy?

"Prohibition worked for me."
“Prohibition worked for me.”

Thanks to the Falstead Act, which prohibited the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933, illicit trade in liquor was an attractively lucrative business. Al Capone, at the height of his criminal career, raked in $100 million a year. While Prohibition was well intended, it had unintended consequences and fuelled the behaviours it was intended to eradicate.

Fast forward to me reading over my daughter’s shoulder on the bus to school. In her hand, The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow. The page below caught my eye, as it bears strong resemblance to the boundaries my wife and I use at home.

The Popularity Papers
“Maybe we should go to the library”

The best laid plans of mice and men do often go awry. Daddy and Papa Dad’s Rules for the Internet only serve the intended purpose when when one of the adults is in room, and paying attention.

Internet prohibition only works as long as the access to the Internet can be controlled. How many wired devices do I see in use at school, on the bus, MTR, or ferries? There is no limit to the distractions competing for my daughters’ and  students’ time and attention, but there is a limit of me. If I can’t impose my control ubiquitously (And why would I?), then I have to model and instil self-control in my children and students, so that they develop their own internal locus of control.

Block some things, because there is some Internet content that no-one should stumble across. But find something that is enticing and popular, and then try to shut it down? Difficult.

So when I am not shoulder surfing, do my daughters have the tools for self-control?



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