Friday, February 3, 2012

It's a Wide, Wide, Wide... Web?

There are tons of things available on the internet that just 10 years ago were unavailable to the public at large.

There was no Facebook.
There was no Twitter.
There was no Skype or YouTube or Xbox Live.

There was AOL and chat rooms.
There was online news forums.
There was email and online shopping and research sites.

With the innovations that have grown the world wide web into a truly WORLD WIDE WEB of information and accessibility it seems that the world in general has gotten smaller, more restricted and more impersonal.

Where GoodMom and SmartGirl and ManBoy used to spend hours on the phone getting dating advice, giving dating advice, sharing wardrobe secrets and the private thoughts and dreams of the American teen...
spent hours with friends doing their hair and makeup, playing ball in the street and just hanging out and having fun...

Where I once had to shout " Hang up now!" and " It's time to come home!"...

Everything is different.
Everything is changed.


TeenBoy and SIX and, yes, even BratChild communicate with friends online...
.
BratChild Skypes with friends from her soccer team...

SIX plays video games with the kid down the street...

TeenBoy hangs out with Anime enthusiasts...

And none of them leave the house!

All of these social activities...
the ones that used to require actually getting dressed and going outside...
That required one to have an understanding of at least a modicum of personal interacting skills...
like how to meet a person with a handshake or quick hug or air kiss or knuckle thump...
how close to stand to a person before it gets to be too close...
how to make eye contact and appear interested in what another person is saying...
how to actually be in the same room with a person without being rude or offensive or inappropriate...

All of these activities and interactions can be carried on from the comfort of your own home using your home computer or laptop or personal tablet.

Okay.... I will admit that when BratChild said she was talking to D on the Xbox Live while SIX was playing a game with him I thought it was nice that the kids were finding a way to hang out together with their friends...

And then... I found out that D was not the one that lives around the corner but D, a boy SIX found online who lives in Minnesota!

The conversation went something like this...
BratChild- It's pretty warm today. It's that cold?  That's a lot of snow! What grade are you in? Do you go to school? I'm looking you up on FaceBook now...

WHAT?

Okay that is the side I heard so... it being 60 degrees out and having had no snow lately... I had to ask..
Me- Where did D get snow?  You know what grade he's in, he's in your class!

Which led to...
Bratchild- Not D that you know, this is D. He's a boy my age and he lives in Minnesota. It's really cold there. And they get tons of snow.

And then...
Me- Do you even know where MINNESOTA is?

BratChild- I know it's far away... and cold?

And then... she looked up D on facebook and then looked up Minnesota on Google Earth and then checked out the average temps and snow accumulation and... Voila!

She actually learned something... and made a new friend in the process.
But I won't tell her she learned something... that might ruin the whole experience.

I still don't like that the things that used to be done face to face...
that life lessons and life skills needed to be able to succeed are being over looked and forgotten...

But perhaps this World Wide Web isn't all bad...
maybe it's power can be used for good, not evil...
and maybe, just maybe, the skills being learned are the skills that they will need to succeed in this new world where boundaries do not seem to exist and distances no longer seem to matter...

And as long as those personal interactions and skills are learned and developed...
I guess there are good things to come of all this technology...

Sometimes I just have to look real hard to find them
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