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?