The advent of computer technology, the internet, and social media has changed the world in many ways. On the surface, it’s all about convenience and having information at your ?ngertips. As the layers peel back though, this new medium is rapidly changing our social fabric in ways we may not understand for years.Today’s children are being conditioned in a world where social interaction happens through wi? at lightning speed and remains permanent to any and everyone globally. There are several pros and many cons to this reality and I will enumerate the ones i ?nd most striking.The most obvious bene?t is that our children are very computer literate. In a work world that is increasingly computerized, being facile with the net and tech is a must. Secondly, Kids who used to need a library card – or for that matter tuition – can learn so much. From history, to medicine, to science, to foreign languages, young people can amass expertise in anything that piques their interest. Google is our greatest teacher. Furthermore, the instant global access in real time can allow young people to become more worldly and build cultural bridges that can last a lifetime.As to the cons of internet and social media, there are many and new ones develop as the speed of progress snowballs. The internet is a place where many adult and even illegal activities happen. Parents often can not know if their kids are venturing on to the deep web or adult sites that corrupt their innocence and over expose them to undesirable material. Children can no longer be deemed ‘safe’ just because they are home with the door locked, and this is a real concern.Another thing that is prevalent online is bullying. We see the President right on down to faceless trolls making abusive comments as the e-crowd eggs the parties on. In the past, schoolyard bullies were a rite of passage that one would pass through. In today’s world, the bullying is online forever and in front of the entire world. With stakes like this, it’s no wonder todays kids experience both stress and esteem issues revolving around their online footprint. There have been studies explaining how the anonymity of the internet makes regular people lose their moral compass like a ring and run prank that won’t ever come back to them.Additionally, our children spending so much time in front of a computer screen or on a phone is contributing to a less physically ?t population. It’s not uncommon for teens to spend hours upon hours online in a stupor of addiction that makes ‘couch potato’ syndrome seem benign in comparison.Often I wonder how today’s kids will feel when their bodies age and they realize their most vital years were spent inert.The ?nal con of the internet world and social media is also, perhaps, a pro. It relates to how people interact in person and the new de?nition of ‘socializing’.Recently I saw an article about a woman who gives classes on basic human interaction to post-millennials who are all the rage on facebook but come up lacking when they try a face to face conversation. Obviously these basic social skills will never be replaced by technology. Our animal heritage is locked into our dna. Things like mating and starting a family are pre designed with pheromones, body language, and a litany of real chemistry far beyond any computer. Can you remember the days when you were supposed to look someone in the eye and give them a
?rm handshake? This has been replaced by the art of knowing which sarcastic emoji to send at the exact right time.It’s been said that the true purpose of high school is to learn how to interact with a variety of people. This includes teachers and authority ?gures you may not like as well as bullies, cliques, the opposite sex, and all of your peers.This becomes invaluable in the real world as you learn to read people and pick up on social cues. An often repeated statistic states that face to face communication is 85% non verbal.Now, not only are kids in schools living on their smartphones, walking into walls as they plunge into their isolated online world … but soon many people will be attending online schools. This will deprive a generation of human contact.Is human contact a basic need along with food water and shelter? Arguably yes.What, you may ask, is the pro side to this online madness engul?ng our youth. The answer to that is that we are in uncharted territory. For good or bad, this is the modern standard and humans have no choice but to adapt to it. Perhaps the desired communication skills of the future will morph into a meaningful and useful entity. Perhaps the next generations will ?nd ways to band the instant speed and global reach into something that improves lives and connects.When all is said and done, people will always need other people.