Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Internet, The Information Age and Children

Bill O'Reilly is among those who believes the internet and the information explosion in general has presented parents with new challenges that they aren't prepared to deal with and that something should be done about it.

I agree on the first part anyway. Children are exposed to imagery and ideas, on a daily basis, that many adults, as children, were not exposed to. How do you explain pornography, terrorism, gay rights and child predators to a 5 year old in a manner that's consistent with what they're seeing and hearing? Filters on computers and other media may slow the pace of bombardment for a time, but that will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible as the the availability of information continues to grow. Government deciding which ideas and imagery are permissible for expressing in public is a road we don't want to go down, not even for the children.

Our immersion in information is a very new phenomenon. It's easy to forget that the internet has only been in wide use by the public for about a decade. The pace of advancement in technology continues to accelerate. It's a lot for full grown adults to get their heads around. It's tough to help a child make sense of it all when you've never experienced it from their perspective. The best you can do is the best you can do. Our children and their children will be better qualified to deal with the situation and mentor generations to come.

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