April 1, 2018
In recent news, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm have begun pushing what’s being called the “Always Connected PC” (Windows Blogs – LINK | Intel Newsroom – LINK). This is pretty big news for business users and the capabilities this opens for mobile productivity. As one who works in IT and thrives on being able to address trouble tickets wherever I may be, this is a pretty big deal. Not having to wait until I get home/work, connect to a sketchy hotspot, or using up precious data on my personal cellular plan is a huge plus. At the same time I can’t help but feel fearful for the general direction technology is bringing us. Being always connected has many benefits in terms of being able to access information practically anywhere at the tip of your fingers or the sound of your voice. However, along with this comes my fears of what this brings for both the children of today and the children of tomorrow.
I wrote a while back about some of the effects of connectivity and the impact it’s had on society with regards to our perceptions. We’re slowly being conditioned in such a way that we need immediate service and quick response times. Long gone are the days of waiting in line, waiting for a download, or waiting for a response. If we don’t get an immediate response, how quick we are to use another connection, try another browser, shop at another store, or whatever would fulfill our request sooner.
… When do we want it? NOW!
I do see the impact of this directly at my workplace. Students seem to have shorter attention spans and are quick to complain when a website or the system they’re using doesn’t load quick enough. Patience seems to be a virtue that’s becoming more and more foreign to society. You could even see it in some popular quotes and slogans. “Hungry? Why wait?” “Your way, right away.”
Even though the decline of patience is fairly concerning, I think the bigger issue this spawns is what connectivity itself brings. Having information readily available is a great tool, no question. As one who takes advantage of my phone for directions and finding restaurants and gas stations, I will admit that it’s hard for me to live without it. However, when that tool also grants users access to so much filth, I can’t help but fear for the direction our future is headed. In 2008, Google’s CEO called the Internet a cesspool with regards to the amount of false information. Though I do agree with his point, I agree even more with the moniker he gave to the web, albeit for a different reason.
We recently installed an additional web filter at work due to address some issues we noticed where students weren’t properly being filtered by our existing appliance. The moment I turned on the switch, my jaw dropped at the amount of content our students were accessing using the school’s devices and connection. The fact that they were attempting to hit the websites I saw told me that they were actually successfully accessing those websites prior to the installation of the filter. Not only that, but the fact that they were accessing this content while in class was completely disturbing.
Keeping the filth of the Internet away from our children has become more and more difficult with the increase of connectivity and accessibility. More and more internet-connected devices are readily available to younger and younger age groups, whether it be their phone, tablet, computer, or gaming console. Any parents who aren’t wise about the device they purchase and aren’t truthful and realistic about their perception of their “little angels” will be in for a surprise. Man truly is depraved by nature (Romans 3:10-12, Psalms 14) and if left to their own devices (literally I suppose), I’m fairly confident that we could get to a state of pre-flood humanity, following after their own lusts (2 Pet 3:3, 2 Tim 3:2-5). I think the block reporting of our filter is evidence enough of this.
Not only are our children (and all of humanity for that matter) “naughty by nature”, but the content on the Internet itself is chock full of refuse. According to recent studies, some estimates say that 4% (BBC – LINK), or 5-15% of all the Internet content consists of pornography (Mirror.co.uk – LINK), 25% of searches (~68 million) and 35% of downloads are related to pornography (Webroot – LINK). The accuracy of these statistics may be skewed or inaccurate due to the increase in data overall or skewing for bias, but even at the lowest estimates, we’re still talking billions considering the amount of total traffic (Gizmodo – LINK). And here I’m just talking about pornography where there’s a vast amount of other types of refuse out there.
In any case, what can we do as parents to protect our children? Outside of living in an Amish Paradise, you need to plan ahead since it seems most schools are moving towards integrating more and more technology with digital instruction, digital assessments, etc, even requiring a laptop for the curriculum for most if not all classes. Even with home schooling as an options you’re still most likely going to have to provide an internet-connected device of some sort for productivity and research purposes.
… (Finalized in 2020)
The most important thing we can do is provide a filter not to the device or the network, but rather to the heart. If a person does not see the world through the lens of the Bible, or value the glory of God over their own fleshly lusts, then nothing is going to stop them from sinning first in their hearts and potentially, if not eventually, their actions.
O Lord, help us to raise our children in the discipline and instruction You have provided to us (Eph 6:14, Duet 6:5-9). Let this also be a reminder for us in our own hearts to be cautious about the technology we possess and use and help us to do all things for Your glory (1 Cor 10:31).
Oct 6, 2020
Side note: This post was originally drafted back in 2018 but I didn’t realize it until now. Since I don’t recall my original train of thought, I wrapped it up as best as I could after giving it a read. That said, on a bit of a different angle (social media as opposed to technology in general), if you haven’t checked out “Social Dilemma” on Netflix, I’d highly recommend it https://www.netflix.com/title/81254224. Additionally, I’d recommend “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You” by Tony Reinke. It’s currently free as an eBook download from Crossway (https://www.crossway.org/articles/free-ebook-12-ways-your-phone-is-changing-you/).