Actually, I think I’m way closer to being the last person to join this World Wide Web with computers.
My family can tell you that I have done so kicking and screaming against this new reality. I still chafe at carrying a cellphone. Yes, I admit it. But I know when I am licked. There is a whole new world out there — a world where practically anything is at your fingertips.
Instantly, you can speak to millions of people at one time on Twitter. You can stay in touch with loved ones and post your pictures for free on Facebook. You can scan the world in minutes, research exciting new things in seconds, get online degrees, do online banking, shopping, find online jobs — even spread the Word of God faster and more efficiently than ever before.
This is the world we live in. This is what it looks like. It’s time to get on board. Even many seniors have learned how to use email, browse the Internet and save money in the process.
In fact, the latest research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported that for the first time more than half of seniors in America — 53 percent age 65 and older — use the Internet or email. It’s easier than writing letters, travels faster and saves money. Of course, I had no interest in investing in this technology and having another monthly bill. But it seems one cannot keep pace with a rapidly changing society unless one moves forward with it.
Yes, I have my concerns about leaning too heavily on modern technology. One day we may have to do without it. Then what? For example, Linda and I went to the movies recently and I ordered a medium popcorn and small drink. The attendant said that would be $9.50. I gave him a $10 bill. Moments later he apologized, saying he rung up the wrong items. He said my total was now $7.50. I watched as he tried to figure out how much he owed me. After much thought he handed me $9.50! I looked at him, pulled $2.50 from the money he was giving me and said, “That’s all you owe me.” He still looked confused, but thanked me. Wow.
Are we relying too much on computers? This is the world we live in. This is what it looks like. Not only that, but are you seeing more and more youths preferring to live in virtual reality games and on their smartphone than connect directly with people in the real world? As a people person, that concerns me.
Child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist Mali Mann, said, “In the past, we only had to be concerned about too much TV exposure. Now we have video games, computers and cellphones. It is overwhelming for young children and creates patterns of behaviors similar to addiction patterns. Their brains get used to too much auditory and visual stimulation — and in the absence of these stimulations, they do not know what to do with themselves.”
Parents also have to worry about online predators, youths sending sexually explicit texts and images over their phones — called sexting. All of a sudden, state and federal laws have been violated, which can be a high-tech nightmare for families.
With Internet pornography being a multi-billion dollar business, need we be reminded that this medium is a two-edged sword that can instantly be used for good or bad more effectively than any device in our modern era? You can learn about CPR or how to make an explosive device on the Internet. You can meet good people, bad people — even terrorists on the Internet. This is the world we live in. This is what it looks like.
In some ways this technology reminds me of the choice Adam and Eve had to make in the Garden of Eden. They could choose for themselves what was good or bad by eating the forbidden fruit or let God decide for them what was best. Now, thanks, in part, to the Internet, we get to choose instantly for ourselves between good and bad every time we put our fingers on a laptop or iPhone. It is easier than ever to be seduced into secret sins without any human seeing the choices we instantly make.
Only this fruit is not forbidden. It is available to everyone who can afford it. I find it a bit ironic that the emblem on many computers and other electronic devices has an apple with a single bite out of it. Although the Bible never said the forbidden fruit was an apple, many people believe it was. One bite of that forbidden fruit proved fatal. But computers are not forbidden fruit. I know that.
For all its dangers, the Internet has been useful in connecting people to people, finding lost loves and family members. There is nothing like it for fast, effective communication. It cost less to shop online. Even the word of God is being spread at an incredible rate, thanks to the Internet.
Still, beware. There are real world consequences for our online behavior. The Internet has caused more legal and family problems than most people will ever care to share. It has downloaded knowledge of good and evil. As such, it is vital not to bite off more than you can chew.