Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ACLU says, Down with the Juvenile Curfew

We can usually count on the ACLU to be the voice of reason. The following comes from the ACLU press room concerning a recent enforced under-18 curfew in Hartford, Connecticut, after a series of shootings.

Lifting the curfew is not putting children in any more danger than they already are being out during the day, and is nothing but discrimination justified by paranoia--regardless of whatever good intentions there were in putting it in place.
ACLU Opposes Planned Hartford Juvenile Curfew
ACLU Press Room

Announcement of a curfew for juveniles in Hartford drew an immediate response from the ACLU of Connecticut: Abandon the idea. Such ordinances are a violation of fundamental rights of innocent people, the ACLU says.

Mayor Eddie Perez, with his police chief at his side, announced the curfew Monday in the wake of a series of shootings in the city. Such a curfew has long been on the books in Hartford, but its enforcement has been set begin Thursday.

The problem is real, the ACLU says, but a blanket curfew barring all those under 18 from being on the streets from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is the wrong solution.

David McGuire, staff attorney for the ACLU-CT, compiled a list of reasons such curfews have proven ineffective, and have been struck down when challenged in court:
  • Curfews violate constitutional rights of due process and freedom of expression, by giving the police unlimited discretion to arrest young people engaged in wholly legitimate and constitutionally protected activities or speech. The planned Hartford action is an assault on the basic constitutional rights of thousands of young people in the city.
  • The police have every tool they need, without curfew, to protect and enforce laws involving youth. Day or night, they always have the authority to stop young people based on reasonable suspicion that they are violating a law or posing a danger to themselves or others.
  • Curfews, at their core, essentially place all persons of a particular demographic under “house arrest” for the actions of a minority. A curfew criminalizes all youth, regardless of whether they are breaking any laws or posing any threat. The proper response to juvenile crime is instead to arrest the criminals.
  • The public would never accept this approach for adults. Young people who have parental consent must enjoy the same right to freedom of movement as adults.
  • A curfew usurps parental discretion.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pedophobia and the Mosaic 2000

"Pedophobia" is not a term to be thrown around loosely, or else it looses its effect. But every now and then a social convention comes around that can only be described as "pedophobic." The term literally means an irrational fear of childhood or children, if you didn't know, because it is not one of those hot-button terms that gets a lot of exposure, mainly because the targets of it are not afforded the ability to protest it. But rest assured, pedophobia is alive and well and stirring in its own silent but bigotted prejudice into public policy.
Pedophobia attacks all races, genders, sexualities, and socioeconomic groups, and gets more endorcement, or simply gets ignored, simply because it's target is children.
Exhibit A: The Mosaic 2000--a piece of anti-terrorism software developed for the explicit purpose as a "diagnostic method for conducting high-stakes evaluations of persons who might act violently in school," according to the Assistant Director of Field Operations, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"As an evaluation method that is computer-assisted, Mosaic 2000 presents a series of questions which, after analysis and comparison, provides an evaluative report to the school administrator. In this way, it will help schools identify threats most in need of intervention, and assist school administrators in choosing the appropriate tools."
What it is though, is nothing less than profiling. Now what kinds of otherwise normal youth behaviors and activities does this "government knows best" mandate are potential hazards to their schools and societies? Let's take a look at the various dimensions they consider tell-tale signs of a school shooter in the works:
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone; Excessive feelings of rejection
  • Being a victim of violence
  • Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
  • Low school interest and poor academic performance
  • Expression of violence in writings and drawings
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying behaviors
  • Affiliation with gangs
  • Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes [How ironic...apparently it's perfectly fine for this test to be intolerant and prejudicial]
  • Drug use and alcohol use
  • Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
  • Serious threats of violence
Essentially, this is not a tactic to keep youth safe, the Mosaic 2000 is nothing more than a device to justify the suppression of youth for the sake of preserving their future commodity use and weeding out the ones that aren't useful. Apparently, it discriminates against all youth who are freethinking, have a low interest in school (which as this site rightly says is a poor excuse for a lacking educational system), low in self-esteem, anger issues, and feelings of "persecution" (yes, youth aren't supposed to feel persecuted while subjecting themselves to unnecessary character profiling), and engages in some typical, but not government approved, socializing.

Who makes the definitions as to what constitutes "excessive feelings" or "inappropriate access to weapons" or what the official limit to one's creativity can be in "violent writings and drawings" anyways? As far as "serious threats of violence" is concerned, that varies from school to school. For some schools, as this site also mentions, carrying nail clippers is considered a "serious threat" at one school (expelled), as is "writing scary stories" at another. All these definitions now sound arbitrary regardless of what the original (possibly) well-meaning intentions are.

Now, students only get profiled if they "come to the attention of the school as possible security risks..." but as an ASFAR "Youth Truth" article on this issue points out, how do students then come to the "attention" of the school? One only has to look to James Perrotti, Chief of Police at Yale University who wrote the questions for the program as a perfect example of ignorance, ageism, and bigotry to find out how they find potential evil-doers: "It's easy to pick out the gang members with tattoos. It's these other people that kind of surprise administrators, and these are the ones they really need to identify."
The Youth Truth article poses whether school officials can even be entrusted to use this information properly. We already know how they treat children they label as "at risk," can we expect anything different? It is disturbing to read about how objective this test takes itself to be in light of this oversight, as the author explains: "Would you trust the future of your son and daughter to your confidence that an administrator, who has probably labeled your child in order to use the program in the first place, will be completely objective and truthful in answering the forty questions, or even have the knowledge to do so?"

It is doubtful whether this new brand of profiling will even keep kids safe to begin with. So long as all the school resources are divested in answering to random kids the computer thinks are dangerous while ignoring those hidden aggressors who might have passed the test. It takes resources and justification away from investigating real hazards and entrusts all judgment to an indifferent computer test.

Leave it to ASFAR to set the record straight on this:
"Profiling of young people is no different than racial and ethnic profiling, and it is morally wrong. Profiling someone to predict whether they will commit a crime or be dangerous is contrary to the concept of innocent until proven guilty, as well as due process. It is wrong for a school to punish a student who has done nothing except be different. Schools should only act when there is a case of imminent danger to students and faculty, or the student has actually committed an offense."

"Unfortunately, one must question whether children and teenagers need to be kept safe from Mosaic 2000 itself."

Monday, August 18, 2008

For Those Corporal Punishment Advocates...

There is a myth that corporal punishment on children is fair and effective. The simple logic of the practice forces multitudes to accept its effectiveness as a necessary truth: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." However, the truth is rarely simple, and this is no exception.

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch have concluded that this "fair" punishment for a child's misbehavior is subject to cultural, racial, regional, gender, and socioeconomic factors that are completely outside the child's control, and that the motivation to use violence as a punishment solution on a misbehaving child is prompted by a whole lot more than a temper tantrum.

For instance, minor infractions, such as talking back, gum chewing, and violating school dress codes are "routinely" dealt with aggressively. Black and Native American students receive twice as much "paddling" as White children in both white and black majority districts, measuring the same transgressions. This is according to "A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools." If you follow the simple logic, boys are three times less spoiled than girls are for the same transgressions in schools that enforce this "fair" policy, along with children with special needs and disabilities.

The prevailing view of psychologists on the issue of the "effectiveness" of corporal punishment as an aversive strategy of behavior modification is best explained by the author of the report:
"Every public school needs effective methods of discipline, but beating kids teaches violence and it doesn't stop bad behavior," said Alice Farmer, Aryeh Neier Fellow at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, and author of the report. "Corporal punishment discourages learning, fails to deter future misbehavior and at times even provokes it."
Despite all this, 21 states still enforce corporal punishment (legally) only because the simple logic of "common sense" resonates with the majority of their populations more than these hidden realities of its practice. And are the kids in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida and Missouri (to name a few) any less spoiled than kids in any of the majority of states where such measures are illegal? That still remains to be seen.

And in the end, the only impression that corporal punishment leaves on children other than welts and bruises, is further disengagement.

"The report shows that, as a result of paddling, many children are left injured, degraded, and disengaged from school."

There are better, more effective and fair ways to discipline. Violence begets violence--and nothing is more common sensical than that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Farts Are In

It would appear the boys have spoken. In boys' literature, hearths are out. Farts are in. More and more, publishers are trying to interest the boy market with gory or gross books. The move is a desperate attempt to get boys into reading early, as boys have been seen to lag behind and loose interest in reading by middle school.

Some have called this trend nothing more than a market stooping to all new lows in children's literature for broader appeal at the sake of more appropriate and stimulating material. Others have sung its praises, saying that it doesn't matter so much what little boys are reading, so long as they are reading--and enjoying it.

Some books are more stimulating reads than others. Many books aimed at boys are fictional, such as the Captain Underpants series, The Day My Butt Went Psycho, Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger, Walter the Farting Dog. Titles such as these have attracted many boys' interests, which seems natural, but it is questionable how much they have inspired boys to enjoy reading in general. Of course boys are going to enjoy reading a book about something gross!

Many people don't seem bothered by the trend, and insist that so long as boys are reading it doesn't matter what they are reading about. Many parents though, would rather see their children reading material that challenges them and inspires them, not force feeds them down a narrow path of "crude entertainment."
For a list of good "boy books" to inspire a boy's interest in reading at all age levels, BoysRead.org is a helpful and informational resource for parents and anyone who knows a boy.
For the record, three are many other gross and gory books that seem more educational and stimulating. These are mostly non-fiction. Scholastic's Wicked History series, including tidbits on some of the most ruthless tyrants and conquerors in history on blood-splattered paper, Mary Tudor, Leopold II, and Vlad the Impaler are included; The Sanitation Investigation series, from Capstone Press, including Getting to Know Your Toilet: The Disgusting Story Behind Your Homes Strangest Feature...etc
"Other popular selections in the grossness genre include Workman Publishing's "Oh, Yuck: The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty" and Simon & Schuster's "It's Disgusting and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History." (Think worms, rats and squirrels.)"
Ultimately the point of reading is to open up a child's mind, inform them, entertain and educate, and once again it all comes down to respecting a child's informed autonomy. If you ask the boys themselves, they'll tell you what they think of these books, as this article describes:
"Eleven-year-old Yathrib Aryanpure, who just finished sixth grade in Tuscaloosa, Ala., says the answer is a resounding yes. He loved "Vlad the Impaler," especially when the boy learned the tyrant was assassinated, ending up with his own severed head on a stick. "I like gory books," he says. "Vlad the Impaler went on a killing rampage. In the end, he got a taste of his own medicine."

Mr. Schrank might be talking about 10-year-old Parker Self. Parker, who lives in Dallas, dismisses "Charlotte's Web" as a "girl's book" and assigned texts from school as "good for nothing" and "really boring to read." He prefers soccer and his PlayStation.

His mother, Hope, worried that Parker would never open a book. Then, Parker's grandmother found a copy of "The Day My Butt Went Psycho," and the boy was hooked. "Mom, this is a great book!" Parker raved."

Social conventions have finally caught up with a boy's interests, and I got to say, it's about time. As a former boy myself, this trend meets with my own approval... I might even be tempted to read some of these titles!

Child Prodigy Gets the Blues

Child prodigies are rare, but are truly a gift to mankind. Rarer still are those who can take the knocks from a society that can't accept them and use that to inspire their creativity even more. Such is the case with an 8-year-old boy by the name of Tallan--a blues guitar player who's already seen his share of performances. More provocatively though, in bars and clubs, where he's made many fans, but unfortunately, a few enemies.

Sometimes to say that adults have no more common sense than children is an insult to children everywhere. The group that is discriminated against often has more common sense than those who discriminate...as this article from the Associated Press demonstrates:

By CARRIE ANTLFINGER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Aug 12, 10:51 AM ET
"And what, you might ask, would a kid not even in the third grade have the blues about? The state of Wisconsin for one, and some possibly jealous older musicians for another."

An anonymous e-mail sent to state officials complained that Tallan was too young to perform in taverns and nightclubs because of state child labor laws. His booking agent even got an anonymous letter threatening her with death if she keeps booking him.

When Tallan's father read him the state's letter saying he couldn't play clubs anymore (he can still play festivals), the boy's response — like his music — seemed beyond his years.

"He goes, 'It's not how many times you get knocked down but it's how many times you get back up and go forward,' Carl Latz said his son told him. "And I told him that's exactly what this is all about and if nothing else this letter just taught you a life lesson."
You can't ridicule all adults based on the actions of a few bad apples, (as so many more agree these laws are often nothing but arbitrary), but this is just systematic ageist discrimination, proof positive that the law only works on a child's behalf--not for their best interests. Children are not allowed to go beyond their years in Wisconsin, and because of that, many children are probably not performing as well as the government of Wisconsin thinks they ought to--but luckily, this ageist bigotry isn't slowing this cat down one bit.

Jennifer Ortiz of the state Equal Rights Division said her agency has a responsibility to enforce the law once it becomes aware of a violation. "Well, the law prohibits it, and the Legislature enacted the laws to protect the health, safety and welfare of all children." Latz, who also is Tallan's manager, has asked a legislator for help changing the law but it's unclear whether any action will be taken.
This is because the law in Wisconsin (and most other places) is not enacted to protect the health, safety and welfare of all children...although it may say that officially. All it really does is commodify, stigmatize, lower the standards, repress, stifle, and flat out ignore the very children it's concerned about, with it's unnecessary precautions and bigoted idiocy in this regard. But you'll never read that on paper.

Here's an example of how an ageist bigot "protects" a child:

Boche said she has received backlash from musicians and area bar owners because she supports Tallan. Some have tried to take patrons away, she said. Some even called in fake incidents to police, causing them to look for guns or underage drinkers, she said.
And this is how a tolerant, open-minded, rational individual protects a child:

"If my doors close and I never open again and this boy becomes successful, then I will be the happiest person in the world," she said.
But enough about that. Discrimination is discrimination, and it has existed throughout human history. What is most important is what the boy himself has been telling us all along, that it doesn't matter what they try to do to stifle you, you got to roll with the punches and always turn it into something productive. Luckily for all of us, many more agree than disagree.

Just a few of Tallan's rave reviews:

Greg Koch, 42, an internationally known guitarist and clinician for Fender Musical Instruments, called the backlash despicable. He said most 8-year-olds don't have the strength or attention span to pursue guitar or can't endure the calluses. "It's strange that a kid at this age would glean onto this particular kind of music and show the intensity and kind of the ability to function as kind of 8-year-old blues guy," he said.
Brad Tolinski, editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine, said kid guitar prodigies are rare, with one emerging perhaps every four or five years. "It would be unusual to find an 8-year-old who can play Joe Satriani licks," he said.
Carl Latz [the boy's father] said there's no explanation for Tallan's blues connection other than he seems to have an old soul. "I've had more people tell me, they say 'It's a kid's body but it has a 70-year-old dude inside,'" Carl Latz said.
The article describes his impressive talents and inspiration. His heroes are Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, has company endorsements so he can actually use professional equipment along with his many guitars, and he's got a mind for music--since he can read it and play from memory. He's played with the likes of Les Paul and Jackson Brown, at festivals and his notorious bar and club venues (where he normally packs the places). On stage, he goes by Tallan "T-Man" Latz by his bandmates. He's a member of two bands, "T-Man's Blues Project" where he maintains his own among seasoned musicians, and "T-Man and the Young Guns." He's a multi-instrumentalist--sings, plays drums, harmonica, bass and piano, and still has time for the third-grade.

And when you listen to his bits of wisdom, it makes you proud to know individuals like this still exist in this world:

Tallan said he likes to play guitar to "put smiles on people's faces" when they are having a bad day. "It sounds awesome," he said. "I think it's so much you can do on the guitar."

Tallan said the problems he's faced have doing nothing to dampen his ambition to be a blues rock star when he grows up. Just the opposite, in fact.

"Because I got more inspiration, I got more sadness in me," Tallan said. "I'm just feelin' it."
Seriously, if someone doesn't think this kid can handle his talent, that's their problem. He's already an inspiration not only for all the youths in the world, but for us all, and there's no stopping him.

Here's more information about Tallan:


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kids, Media Violence, and Parenting

Ever since the Bandura "Bobo doll" study in the 50's (where it was found that children imitate violence) people have complained about the media's supposed power to warp a child's mind beyond repair. The public seems to believe that if a child hears a rap song about gun violence that he will inevitably go shoot up his school. What can save our children from this horrible fate? It doesn't seem to matter. No matter what the government does to create "safer media," there's always going to be some concerned parent who is unsatisfied with it and demands some kind of change.

The following is some "mother of four" ranting about the supposed causation between media violence and violent behavior:

An entire genre of music, popularized and pushed into the mainstream by greedy corporations, has taught a generation of children that the road to success is paved with drugs, violence and sex.
Granted, her analysis of the mainstream media is spot on. Violence and sex are pushed forward all too often for easy marketability by corporations sometimes at the expense of decency. But there are a number of problems with this "jumping the gun" here.

First of all, even with all this violence and sex in the media, good kids are still being raised, who don't go around shooting up their schools or taking to a life of risky sex, drugs and violence. How can this be?? What is their secret? Could it be that these good children have parents who will take the time to engage their children on the existence of such violence and sex, and the inappropriateness of their endorsements...rather than just sit around complaining that these greedy corporations should be entrusted with their parental responsibilities?

In all seriousness, it is ultimately the parents' responsibility to teach children about violence and how to deal with violence, not the corporations, nor should it be the government's responsibility. These institutions should only provide measures to inform or assist parents to make decisions about the content (like television ratings), they should not have to be doing the parenting for them. Teach your kids about violence in the media, so that when they see it, they know how to deal with it. That's the parent's responsibility.

Secondly, even if this were some fascist government that could make parents' dreams come true and eliminate all violence and sex in the media, children would still be violent and they would still do risky behavior no less than they are already. The point being, aggression and risky behavior have multi-faceted causes, some internal (biological, genetic...relating to serotonin levels, hormone imbalances...etc.) that place some children at more risk than others, and some external (the child's context, parents, neighborhood, school, relationships...etc.). Regardless of these causes, almost all can be averted and the effects minimized by responsible parenting.

Thirdly, a good way to make something stick out in a child's head is to cause a "big unnecessary parental stir" over it. Sometimes it's as if parents think children are conscious enough to get misinformed about violence because some rap star is holding a gun in a music video, but not conscious enough to realize that it's got all the adults fuming. This happens all the time with sexuality, and perhaps might be responsible for driving some kids to pursue risky sexual behavior in the first place.

You have to educate kids about these things, not hide it from them. You have to engage them on these topics when they start talking about them, not cower in fear because you think they aren't old enough to "handle" the information. If they can't get the information from you, they'll turn to the media, their peers (who got their information from the media as well most likely). Once again, this is a basic parenting necessity.

So we shouldn't be asking: "How do these powerful impressions alter the values, goals and beliefs youth and children will formulate about the world, their neighborhoods, their communities and most importantly, themselves?"

Rather, we should be asking: how do
PARENTS create "powerful impressions to alter the values, goals and beliefs youth and children formulate about the world?"

Luckily, this parent relents the "blame game" for a moment long enough to get at what this all-important parental responsibility amounts to: "Parents need to be more involved in monitoring their children’s media consumption, establishing and sticking to household rules about media use, and discussing media content with their children."

Though it's not always necessary, far less possible to completely "monitor" a child's media consumption, (as parents really ought to be more involved than just relying on the V-chip to sift the media for them), what's more important is to make your children understand that violence does occur in the media, that it's put out there by those greedy corporations you complain about, that is not acceptable behavior and that these companies are lying if they make it seem like it is. THAT is what children need to hear more often. Educate and empower.

But just as she relents, she gets cooking the red meat again: "Advertisers need to be held accountable for the content their advertising dollars pay for." This is where the so-called necessity to protect-children-from-all-harm turns into outright fascism. In my opinion, television networks are too busy dumbing down content so as not to offend what they perceive as "the audience." Meaningful content is constantly being marginalized to make way for content that can't offend simply because it can't illuminate or inspire anyone--or it is forced to make way for content that is so utterly offensive that it fails to be meaningful content and therefore can't be taken seriously enough to be offensive.

To call on advertisers to "up the ante" on networks to get them to further strip and screen their content so as to always be "bright, fresh, clean, wholesome," is relegating our children to a land of mediocrity (ie. "political correctness") which neither incites nor teaches them anything. Stripping content also doesn't do a whole lot to prepare them for real-world violence and sexual activity in the future. Being a parent and discussing this content, why it exists, and what they can do about it with your children will...regardless of what's on.

So in reality, "Garbage in--Garbage out" is a good way of putting it. Be a "garbage parent" complaining the media should do the parenting for you, and you can expect to raise "garbage children." By the same logic, the reverse can and does produce the opposite.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kids Enlisted as 'Climate Cops' by Company

A campaign by a British energy company, NPower, has targeted schoolchildren with adverts this summer encouraging them to patrol their parent's bad environmental, global-warming-inducing habits. The children are supposed to take detailed notes about each of their parents' offenses in free journals, and leave Post-It notes at the sites of these infractions. So for example, if a parent leaves a car idling in a parking lot too long, the children could stick a Post-It on the dash indicating such a crime.

The project is a scheme to educate children about the causes of global warming and inspire them to provoke solutions around the home, where they can actually make a difference. However, the company encourages youth to report their parents' crimes to their classrooms and calls it's young respondents the "Climate Cops." Others are just calling them "Greenshirts" and comparing them to the children of George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four and the Hitler Youth.

The satire, on the Anorak website, goes a little like this:

"NPower, the electricity people, want you, the Britisher Jungvolk, to inform on your mums and your dads if they disobey the rules on climate change."
All these comparisons are obviously absurd. This campaign seems to be a promising way to educate and entice children to take initiative on this important issue, although there are of course doubts as to how seriously kids or adults will take it. The argument that it raises awareness is true, and it does seem to promote "a feeling of youth empowerment they might not otherwise have," but once again, this is simple marketing; exploiting the child's illusion of power for PR and investment. It has less to do with empowering "kids" and more to do with turning children into business promotion tools.

One only has to look as far as the website to see the ways they market to kids these days at the expense of their own individual autonomy.

"The company's kid-friendly Web pages use games, posters and vivid cartoons to draw fresh recruits, who are typically between the ages of seven and 11. Once connected, children can download "Climate Crime" cards to monitor their family's misdeeds.

"Report back to your family to make sure they don't commit those crimes again (or else!)," instructs the site page, which features a polar bear giving the thumbs-up and three children wearing baggy trousers and "Academy Cadet" T-shirts.

"You can spread your search even wider by adding even more Case Files to your notes," it suggests. "What about the homes of your uncles, aunts or friends from school?"

The article above goes into detail about an energy saving ad in Canada from David Suzuki which exploits a very similar "children against adults" theme. The article doesn't mention a very similar campaign in India that encourages kids to "think of ways that the impact of climate change can be reduced, and encouraged to pass the message on to their friends and neighbours."

The National Post article brilliantly states the conundrum of the private sector "recruiting" children for some "light-hearted exercise" that isn't expected to make an impact outside individual families. This is in response to the absurd comparisons with the Hitler Youth, but Orwell still manages to make a good point:

"The idea of home-energy suppliers that encouraged conservation also smacks of Orwellian irony: Why would utilities companies deliberately want to lose revenue?"
That's what we really ought to be empowering and educating our children about, as far as climate change is concerned. Just what this whole "light-hearted exercise" really boils down to in the end.

"You don't have this whiny, hectoring, eat-your-peas approach," he observed. "Kids want to be smarter than their parents, and they love catching them doing things they don't want to do."
That's the angle they exploit, and that's how they get the kids and parents behind their corporate manifesto. It's got little to do with kids, and a whole lot to do with getting a movement going under their tent. Which is fine...because that's how Capitalism works. Private ambition can sometimes fuel the common good, but what these children should learn from all this, besides the environmental issues and bad habits, is that all too often it isn't really for the common good.

"There is a saying that 'he who gains youth gains the future,'" she said. "I think Hitler said that."
The future should be gained by the youth themselves. Some entity shouldn't be out there gaining them for it's own purposes. So if kids want to go out and play "Climate Cop" for their own sake, for the sake of their future, on their own initiative, utilizing their own autonomy (rather than because some company told them to), all the power to them!

But for now, this isn't really any more empowering for kids than "extra homework."