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On Doing Without

Posted Jul 21 2013 10:03pm

As new generations arise, there is often new technology that is a part of their life.  As such, I think there is always something to learn from previous generations in regards to the value of this technology.

For example, television has always been around for people my age.  Growing up, there was a tv in the house, and so it would be hard for me to discuss the pros and cons of having a tv or not.  Older generations who didn’t have tv have a different perspective on its value, I’m sure.  If tv came into their life later in their years, perhaps they regard it as less essential.  My generation may regard it as more important.

With the current youth generation immersed in cellphones and the internet, I see a different perspective as well.  They regard these devices as more of necessities, while I and maybe others my age do not.

Let me give an example about this: cyberbullying.  I think cyberbullying is a real and growing problem, and I’m not trying to minimize it.  But there is always one solution available to cyberbullying that there is not with physical bullying: you can turn it off.

I’m not saying turning it off is the best solution or only solution.  But it is a potential solution.  However, here’s what some researchers say in regards to this:

“Understand that the role of technology is not going away. Using a “just turn the darn thing off” argument will only accomplish one result: students will be certain that you don’t understand how they live and how they work. The cyber world is here to stay. Preparing children to live online may seem like a waste of time, unless you consider the alternative.”

This is such a strange argument to me.  “Preparing children to live online may seem like a waste of time, unless you consider the alternative” – I’m guessing the alternative would be “offline” living, aka real life?

Isn’t offline living what people have been doing for the last, oh 2 million years or so, including all of civilized life until the last 15 years or so?  And now this new form of living is mandatory, and without it life is pointless?

If there are 1 billion people on Facebook, then that means there are 6 billion people on the planet that are not.  Am I to assume that all these people are unhappy living their wretched offline lives?

I will even push this further: if someone can’t ever “turn it off”, then yes, they have a problem.  If you unplug the internet, the sun will still rise, the people who truly care about you will still care about you, you can still run, jump, watch the rain, or do whatever you like.

Live is lived offline, not on.

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