Elon Musk’s Starlink – an assembly bursting to come out
Elon Musk’s Starlink – an assembly bursting to come out

Elon Musk’s Starlink – an assembly bursting to come out

For almost every tutor and pastoral leader on the planet – the use and misuse of the internet by pupils, (particularly the misuse of social media) exhausts them.

There are only so many different ways we can reframe those well rehearsed and often repeated messages of “think before you post,” or “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” and messages promoting well-being and taking time to “disconnect and recharge.”

Now tutors and pastoral leaders have the use case of Elon Musk’s – Starlink to substantiate these well-worn messages.

Starlink is a satellite constellation that has made it possible for people around the world to access high-speed internet in regions where it was previously impossible, the Sahara, the Mongolian grasslands and by soldiers in Ukraine at the frontlines of the war with Russia. In September, it connected the remote villages of the Marubo people, a 2,000-member indigenous tribe, deep in the Amazon rainforest. Nine months later, New York Times journalist Jack Nicas hiked more than 50 miles through the Amazon to visit the Marubo villages and understand what happens when a tiny, closed civilization – finds the world at their fingertips – watch Jack Nicas Instagram reel.

Cue the assembly slide

Nicas reports village elders commenting that “the younger generations have been less interested in traditional ways of life since the internet was brought to the community,” a “detrimental,” impact on the tribe’s hunting and fishing regimen, young people described as “lazy” and “learning the ways of the white people.”

In the village, if you don’t hunt, fish and plant, you don’t eat.

Marubo leader, Enoque Marubo

Nicas also reports that the Marubo were grappling with the all too familiar challenge of teenagers glued to phones; group chats full of gossip; addictive social networks; misinformation; scams, violent video games; and minors watching pornography.

And still – they had no wish for the internet to be taken away from them.

The credit and inspiration for this post belongs to Julian Speirs – Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral) at Boundary Oak School.

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