Not only is the internet hurting children, it is also leaving the lights on when it leaves the room, and forgetting to put down fresh water for the cat. And I’m pretty sure it was the internet that keyed my car in a parking lot last month.
– John Titor
On Monday Chelsea Clinton and James Steyer, decided to write on the (QUOTE) “very real” (QUOTE) threat the Internet poses our children and teens. Of course don’t forget the teens; you know they can’t think for themselves. The great “truth” they want you know is this:
We need legislation, educational efforts and norms that reflect 21st-century realities to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks for our kids. Only then will we be able to give them the safe, healthy childhood and adolescence they deserve.
I tried my best to read the article with all seriousness but just could not. Again we have the cry of “for the children” by people who want to see the best for our children. As an aside the group they are a part of (Common Sense Media) was a big supporter of the recently struck down violent video game law in California. This was the law that would have banned the sale of “violent” video games to minors. I think this is part of the reason I could not look at the article with any seriousness.
Another part of the article is that it is so data driven with little argument towards reasoning for law. One thing to remember when someone pulls out a slew of data is to ask yourself what the controls were. Number data can be good but only when you know how the numbers were generated. Then there is the problem of averages, sure 7 out of 10 people like this soda, but what about 8, 9 and 10? See the problem with numbers is that those who don’t fit those averages are a world of data unto themselves. In simple terms: 50% of 8s enjoy this soda, while 35% of the time enjoying this soda…
Now mind you that I am not against Government laws and regulations when called for. However, the laws need to be based on solutions and not just quick fixes to problems. Calling for some law to take care of a present day problem on the Internet is narrow minded and will become obsolete shortly. Another problem with the article was while it was great in pointing out the negatives, it never pointed at the root cause. Moreover, that is my problems with articles, it goes at great lengths to explain the problem, but never explains why it happens. A problem, like a tree, always has a root that caused the problem to show itself. If you want to kill the “problem,” attacking the root is the only way to take care of the “problem.” It is funny how such an important issue like this one cannot take a few words to say the real issue: Parents are the problem.
That is what the article does not want to say, but does. If children are spending so much time in fruitless pursuits, where are the parents? But of course if it did that how many would listen? Easier to blame the big ____ as the ultimate enemy, because it cannot defend itself, an inanimate object really has no voice to argue back. Easy to beat up the scarecrow when you know he does not fight back. Now mind you, if you find yourself in Oz I would think twice, he might punch back.
The other issue I have is the “urgency” for a conversation on an issue that has existed before the public knew it did. The social part of the Internet did not just pop up overnight, and it did not start with Facebook. Looking past adults, children have been on computers and technology since their invention. If you do not want to buy into that, then I can assure you that since I was in elementary school I have been exposed to computers almost every day of my life. Computers and the new technology, which is in constant flux, is now the normality of life and will not change barring complete collapse of society.
Moreover, this “conversation” is always urgent with those who no longer have control, nor should have control. I again am not saying that the conversation is not needed if there were legitimate concerns. But when the concerns seem to be geared towards “I don’t like how children act today” is not a good reason to stop the world so you can have your say.
In addition, that is not to say that all the arguments brought up within the article are bad. For example, children understanding privacy, and the understanding of what they share is important. But does that go to the extent of stopping them before failure and mistake? When did it become necessary to stop children from making mistakes and sometimes failing? I for one understand not giving a four year old the keys to the car and say go, boundaries are good no argument there. Nevertheless, if steps are in place to keep children from bad things and they still go to those places, where do we put blame and what do we do to solve it? Moreover, does that mean we always need Government to answer that problem? As I pointed out before, if sexting crimes were allowed to continue the way they were, we would face a future were the majority of future adults would be sex offenders.
This whole issue comes down to this: Have you ever played the game of: Good or Evil? Simple take an item, any item, and ask yourself this question: “Is it good or evil?” Start with a knife and see where it takes you.