For Parents of PUN Members
This article is directed towards parents who may have questions or concerns about their child’s use of the Peer Unschooling Network (PUN) website.
Information about Unschooling
For those parents who have landed on this page because they are curious about unschooling itself, I highly recommend you refer to the following resources:
- Free to Learn - An outstanding book by developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. This philosophy is implemented most fully through self-directed learning.
- Freedom to Learn – the blog by Peter Gray with many articles referencing his studies in self-directed learning.
- Unschooling Mom2Mom - an incredibly useful blog full of information about unschooling, especially their directory of local unschooling groups and a list of annual conferences. The best resources for learning about unschooling are the parents who are doing it!
- Parenting for Social Change – a great book about conscious parenting that shares many of the philosophies of the unschooling culture.
- There are many more resources located on the homepage of the Peer Unschooling Network under the title “What is Unschooling?”
Positive social and safety features of Peer Unschooling Network
I have intentionally aimed to make the Peer Unschooling Network a safer space than any other social network on the web. You will notice three unique characteristics of our site which were done very consciously to foster positive social interactions. I’m open to more suggestions via our Contact Form, though nothing will be implemented without the approval of the teens in the community.
Firstly – you’ll notice there are no “like” buttons on our site. I’ve purposely left these out. And yes, this decision was made before the inventor of the “like” button announced he regrets his invention. The Peer Unschooling Network is about sharing ideas and experiences and making connections, not earning dopamine bursts from social acceptance.
Secondly – you’ll notice there is no “friends” list. This is also done on purpose. The goal of the site is to create inclusiveness. This is not to say that “everyone is your friend” its simply to acknowledge the reality that friendship is not a binary ‘yes’/’no’ circumstance. This is done on purpose. Friendship is an ongoing, dynamic process, not a toggle switch.
In fact, you’ll notice there are no aspects of “gamification” built into the site, despite the recommendation of countless developers who have suggested it as a way to build engagement and increase usage. It’s possible that this results is fewer users and less engagement… but my aim is not to have people live their entire lives on PUN.
Third - we provide Community Guidelines for behaviors in our community. These guidelines are agreed upon by the youth themselves. I’ve done my best to instill the philosophy of Sudbury Schools into the operations of this website. I aim to be a facilitator of their wishes, not an authoritative enforcer. While some may view the Sudbury model as anarchistic, it is actually a democratic community, where the wishes of the youth reign supreme.
PUN’s view on parental restriction of teen and young adult technology
If you value your teen’s freedom and autonomy and want to prepare them to live in the real world, I aim for PUN to be a safe space to experience that. Nobody on PUN can play with guns, use heroin, or go skydiving without a parachute – this is just a platform for communicating with one another. Some parents may choose to restrict access to technology to control their usage of PUN and other platforms. Restricting a youth’s ability to communicate with peers as a punishment can be compared to the use of solitary confinement as a means of punishment in prison, the effects of which can be traumatic.
I would highly recommend you ask yourself this question: “What is your child learning through your punishment of deleting their account?” Are they really learning anything? Or are they simply going to find a different way to sneak around and get what they want by creating an alias account under a fake email address and using a friend’s computer instead?
Parents cannot access or take action on authorized accounts:
We appreciate your concern for your child's use of our platform, but unfortunately we can't give you access to the account or take any action on the account at your request. We're generally forbidden by privacy laws against giving unauthorized access to someone who isn't an account holder.
Please note that all users ages 13 and older are considered authorized account holders and are included in the scope of this policy.
The Child Online Privacy Protection laws state that any youth who is 13 years or older has privacy rights on the internet. If I were to delete your child’s account, I would actually be violating their privacy rights and breaking the law.
How do I report a child under the age of 13 on PUN?
PUN requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on PUN, you can show them how to delete their account.
If you'd like to report an account belonging to someone under 13 or if you believe someone is impersonating your child who's under 13, please fill out this form. In order to delete a child's account, we'll need to verify that the child is under 13.
How to delete accounts:
Any authorized user can delete their own account following these simple instructions.
All I offer through PUN is social interaction… the opportunity to socialize with one’s peers certainly must be a liberty we offer people of all ages.
Creator, Peer Unschooling Network