Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A lack of Interest

Cyberspace. It's the place where you can go and transform yourself into something or someone else. There are few rules; you can be as invisible or as apparent as you like. Just like in real life you start out at the bottom, no one knows you, no one even knows you exist. However, with work you can start to identify yourself by posting pictures, chatting, creating webpages and countless other cyber-social activities.

As we see society becoming highly technologically dependent, many have raised their eyebrows in concern for our future and the undesired side effects that will be resultant of this new dependence. Suddenly, hours that used to be spent talking or hanging out with friends and family are now passed staring at a computer screen, sending text messages and playing video games. Parents and grandparents may feel concerned due to the seemingly "excessive" amount of time that is spent in the digital realm. Often the basis for the older generations' dislike is expressed in the sentiment that what is done online isn't real, it's not even there, and they wonder why so much emphasis on the tangible has been lost.

I feel that although this can be a proper concern in some situations, often it is misplaced due to a lack of understanding on the part of parents. I think that parents should spend less energy trying to pull kids away from their computers, and spend a little more time getting familiar with computers and the internet themselves. The effect of this experiment would be twofold. First, it would give the parent a glimpse into the child's world, it will help the parent to understand what is so appealing to the child and then the parent will be further capable of discerning whether the action is harmful. Second, respect would be gained by the child for the parent. When a child knows their parent is familiar and understands what they are doing, they will give greater importance to their counsel.

One of the fundamental problems that occurs when a child is involved in something that the parent does not understand is an immediate lack of faith on the part of the child. Children are used to being taught and listening, but as soon as they realize that they know more than their parents, they also start to question their parents' counsel when they tell the child to limit internet use.

To fully understand and control our future we need to be responsible in researching the factors that are involved in each sector of internet use and then address them in order to assure both success and cooperation by those that will follow us in years to come.

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