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Lost in cyberspace

Posted: June 23, 2011 10:27 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2011 5:00 a.m.

As time goes on, the people of this once great country become more and more inundated with Star Trek-type technology, economic uncertainties and the country’s seemingly dependence on drugs in one form or another.

The people in our communities have become numb, especially the young. They are no longer being taught the value of respect and a good reputation. We have become caught up in making ends meet, having a successful career, and advancing in society financially, materially and technologically that we have left the job of teaching and raising our children to the television, computers, and video games.

Now I don’t want to bash technology completely. It certainly is helpful in various ways, but on the other hand, it has gotten woven deeply into the fiber of our everyday lives. I wonder if we could function without the digital personal assistants we adhere to on a daily basis.

I grew up in a time when there was a public announcement on the radio and television that asked the question: “It’s 10 o’clock p.m.; do you know where your children are?” Today, if we had the same services provided, half the parents would be lost because their children are lost in cyberspace and the parents have no idea who they’re chatting with.  They're communicating with total strangers called Facebook friends, then days later the friends become bullies who in turn bully these children into committing suicide. We need an intervention.

Then there’s the kid who pulls a cell phone out of his pocket, surfs the Web with it, texts a couple of cyber friends, and takes lewd photographs to email to these so-called friends, but never once uses the phone for its intended purpose: to make phone calls. There is something wrong with this picture.

It is high time we get back to teaching and raising our youth and stop depending on the techno mentor,who shows them how to interact sexually instead of socially and to resolve conflict violently and not effectively.

There are many outrageous instances that I could use to make my argument, but I will only repeat a couple -- when a 15-year-old daughter kills her mother for taking away her cell phone, and another teenage kills his parents because they grounded him and forbid the use of cell phone, computer or video games. But if you did your research, you would see multiple instances where too much technology caused fatal responses.

I would like to propose a strategy to try to redirect our kids’ attention to things that will fill up some of that idle time. Let’s teach them to play some games we played before the onslaught of technology. We played handball, stickball and dodgeball and made it through our days and, might I add, we turned out OK.

The young ladies jumped rope, played hopscotch, and even stitched a little. My sister learned to sew and to this day can make pretty much any article of clothing on the market if given the proper material. What I would like to propose is that we people, for the people, by the people, find a centralized location, open up a community center or build one if necessary, that teaches our youth teamwork in building. Let’s share hands-on skills they can take with them into the future, such as carpentry, plumbing and mechanics. These skills will teach them the value of building something from nothing but raw material and the knowledge they possess in their brains. None of this is possible without the help of all the professional people of this town who are willing to give of themselves in order to help someone else.

If I could do it myself, I would, but like the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Although Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, it took a team to make that dream a reality. So I am calling on all villagers who are willing to volunteer their time and share some of the wisdom they have acquired over the years with a kid whose only reality is virtual. Let’s bring our kids back to reality, so that if all the technology in the world crashed and they had to rely on their own abilities and one another, the America we know and love would continue to thrive without going to Google for all the answers.


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