Cartoon topic: Dad Goes Viral
Screens, screens, screens. No, not the ones that keep out the flies, but the ones that are ubiquitous in our lives everywhere else. We’ve got video, cell-phone, computer, game, movie theatre, and MP3 player screens (I refuse to call them iPods as I can’t stand iTunes and their monopoly and totalitarian way in which they force you to organize your music…I have no heat on this issue – HA!).
My boys are addicted to them, as with most of their generation. And, my family would argue, I am addicted to my computer and phone screen (for e-mail), to which we finally instituted a limited after dinner policy. One half-hour is all I’m allowed, after dinner, to check and respond to e-mails. Writing and such must be done during “work hours,” whatever those are.
Fair enough, but my boys don’t have these limits other than no TV on school nights. That doesn’t mean no computer time, so really what is the difference? With YouTube, they can watch most anything anyway. With video chat and other options on the web, they’re as addicted to their screens as I may be to mine.
Most of us gossip without giving it any thought whatsoever. Yet, its effects can be so damaging and full of impact. Our kids face this sort of thing in high school in ways we couldn’t have imagined long ago. With the advent of instant communications, whether it is instant messaging, tweeting, or immediate photos and videos, the ability to communicate to a wide swatch of people is available to everyone. I used to think Polaroid cameras were pretty cool.
So, when our kid is captured doing something embarrassing on someone’s phone video, it appears that evening on YouTube. When a kid chooses to expose him or herself via these sorts of instant means, it is done without any cost or time to even reflect on that decision. When that’s done, it’s “out there” forever. I think this all comes with a high cost. The benefits are good, on occasion, as with the recent election backlash in Iran, where the government couldn’t shut down outside communication due to the existence of these pervasive tech tools.