The world we have now is so different from the world I was raised in. The differences are in more ways than I can even begin to possibly call out. But one difference that is certainly at or near the top of the list is the creation, establishment and proliferation of the internet and all that comes with it. There is so much that could be said about the generations that are being raised in the technological era. Much is being written about this right now and the truth is that we do not know all of the ramifications associated with all those who have only known this kind of world.
As I participate myself in the technological age and as I watch others, I see several things that are worth noting. I will focus on just one in this post. I do not think most young people are equipped to fully understand the power of the internet. This power can be leveraged for good. But it can also get you into a world of hurt. Many are not realizing that companies and schools are going and looking at a person’s social media account as they interview for a job. People are not taking seriously the kind of images and reputations that are being projected. False realities and identities are being propagated. People are being manipulated, hurt and misled. While at the same time, there is access to learning and information like never before.
I personally believe we are giving kids unsupervised access to ipods, iPhones, ipads and computers when they are not ready. I think we as parents are naive about how our kids are using the interent and social media and snapchat and the cameras these devices have. Their brains are not ready to properly use all this power. Shoot – I am not sure many adults are ready for these devices. I could say much more about this, but I want to just throw out three realities about interacting with the web. Keep these 3 words in mind as you engage the cyber world and as you equip and teach your children.
1. Instant – once you hit send, it is out there. And it is out there immediately. We must be careful to realize that when we act out of emotion, or spite or hype that our ability to just put it out there may not be good. We need to learn the power of delaying and thinking through communication and presentation.
2. Global – once it is out there, it is out there for anyone with a device and a wifi signal. People from Brooklyn to Bangladesh can see who you are and what you were thinking. There is so much power for good here, but this can bite you. You bachelor party may just follow you in a job interview from Ohio to Texas.
3. Permanent – once it is out there, it is not going away. Sure there are things you can delete. But it has been said that the internet is not written in pencil. You can find stuff from years ago. False things and true things seem to never go away.
So the next time you are about to hit send or post, remember that what you are saying is instant, global, and permanent.