Children of the Internet – part 3

While repressive cultures may view them with horror, the Children of the Internet bring hope for a new future, not destruction.

A technology-based civilization needs an abundance of highly skilled citizens. Our school systems, if you have been watching closely, are not uniformly good at educating our children in technical and scientific subjects. Some seem to be concentrating on political indoctrination, rather than education.

Fortunately, an immense amount of factual information is available on the internet and it is readily available through search engines. Recent developments in digitizing printed works will probably result in an exponential increase in the amount of information available to researchers of all ages.

I saw my grandchildren access the Internet to learn how to make the ultimate paper airplane. I wouldn’t have expected that information to be online, but it was.

However, their experience showed me that researchers can become very sophisticated at any age. After many attempts to follow the instructions given for building a certain paper airplane, they concluded that the author didn’t know what he was talking about. The explanations and illustrations were useless!

I was enlisted to help figure out what was wrong and I had to agree with them. Complex explanations and unhelpful illustrations are a sign of incompetence. People who really understand things can explain them in simple words and with simple diagrams.

The search for information on the Internet will become faster and more convenient. I have every reason to believe that wireless internet access will drive the development of smaller, faster, handheld computers for everyday business and educational use.

Your ability to look up the information you need at a moment’s notice will give you the edge in an increasingly competitive world. We are beginning to see that winning edge in our Children of the Internet.

If you regard information as dangerous in the wrong hands, you will have your work cut out for you determining who should and who should not have access to the knowledge of the Internet. China and North Korea seem to be leading the push to put restrictions on the Internet, but I think it is too late. Like King Canute commanding the tide to obey his will, these rulers will find themselves washed away by communication exchanges they cannot control.

Freedom of expression and freedom to access information have universal appeal. Trying to check these impulses toward freedom is a losing game.

As children around the world become accustomed to finding information at their fingertips, any effort to keep them ignorant and shut them away from this data will have long-lasting negative effects on their loyalty to their current group, whether it is a family, a tribe, a political party, or a nation.

Have you seen the effects of trying to keep children, or anyone, away from information they want to know?

Has it ever been done successfully?

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0 Responses to Children of the Internet – part 3

  1. Stephan F says:

    Love this series.
    We are still a long way from having the “Sum of Human Knowledge” on the Web but it is getting closer every day.
    As a parent I do need to overwatch what my children do on the Web. There are lots and lots of good and bad things out there. I want to keep them away from potentially addicting things, like gambling sites.

    The power of all this easy to get knowledge is just barely being felt. For example, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/249706_historyteen25.html?source=mypi
    This teen has a military history podcast. Military history is a very detail oriented and the arguments can be very strident. But he holds his own by being able to tap the Web.

    It is getting very close to the time for anyone to be able to become an instant expert in almost anything.

  2. Daniel says:

    Very interesting series indeed. We are at a technological apex where the young find themselves at an impressionable age, consuming ridiculously large amounts of information that can be good or bad. I have no kids and yet find myself a student of the internet. The potential for learning is amazing, and yet the “teachers” are varied in excellent and terrible taste. But information is often relative and what is to some dangerous and contrived is to some the reason for their internet browsing. The truest way to ensure that children are not transformed into bigots and extremists and internet anarchists is to utilize Gods gift to parents, honesty and transparency. Parents and those in a mentoring position need to know the issues and know them well. Provide reasonable answers and well supported ideas. The old clique of, “do as I say, not as I do” is more dangerous now then it has ever been. It is key that everyone walk what it is they preach. There is no other greater door for potential education then knowing the issues about what you believe and being able to express them. If we are not teaching those whom we have the gift to teach by our example, them someone will teach them through a blog or a website or less personable form of communication. Nothing should ever take the place of honest and sincere conversation.
    thanks for the observations.
    All the best.

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