February 23, 2010

Surfing More Media Madness

  Post Five on Media Madness

I know it sounded in my last posts that I'm a bit of a Luddite, but I'm not. I know that television has some beauty and good, but... well I've said enough about TV. I promised that I would talk about the new strangers, the ones who make the old family friend, TV, seem somewhat stodgy and straight-laced in comparison.

The Internet is the main one, the one that encompasses them all-- What a true analogy surfing is to the Internet experience, with wave after wave washing over our minds from an endless sea of information.

It's called the Information Age, with success not measured by how much knowledge you retain, but how fast you can find what is accurate and useful, and then use it. There's no 'getting on top of it' and stopping.

Even the newest technical knowledge and the latest website of today will be outmoded within just a few years. I read that half of what university students (I imagine a technical university) learn in their first year, will be obsolete by their third year. Learning and change is the new mode-- like the sea, you can ride it, but you can't tame it.

Some would say, 'don't go near the water!' or 'keep 'em in the roped-off, guarded, safety area!'-- but my advice is, 'head out to the surf!

I think the best advice for parents is mentoring-- going on-line with our mentee/children to show them how it works, to help them find their way and navigate the dangers.

Maybe you don't know as much as they do-- but you can and probably should learn to swim in this ocean as well as them. You should at least learn the basics of search, keeping the computer secure, and the basics of email and other communication and a bit about where the files all go.

Perhaps where you can help the most, is with what is most uncommon-- on the Internet, as with life-- with common sense. While surfing, wisdom and a critical mind-- meaning a healthy bit of skepticism and good judgment-- is as important as the latest programing language or keyboard shortcut.

Ask questions: 'How do we know if this is true.'; 'Who is this guy?-- What else does he do and what do others say about him?' You can challenge your mentee to discover the other side of any question.

Set goals: 'Where are we going?' Make a plan for learning, improving and, if it's to have fun or relax-- make a road map of where you're going to spend your time. 'Let's do a search on it.' There are lots of site that rate movies, games, other sites, etc. Read the reviews together-- or just ask, 'Could you tell me what the reviews say?'

These are just a few things that I've tried, since I'm in the midst of this very process with my 13 year-old. I'd love to hear your comments, tips, experience or thoughts.

My hope is that, as we learn to be good at using this technology, that we will also know how to find what is good, healthy and wise-- to master the use of this tool, and not let it master us.

Happy surfing!

No comments:

Post a Comment