The Internet Age: A Whole New Type of Parenting

The internet has changed the world as much if not more so than the invention of the printing press. Information both reputable and non-reputable is no more than a click a way. Additionally, the internet has changed the social sphere as well. One can now easily keep in touch with both old friends and new friends. Pictures and status updates let anyone know what their friends are up to in real time. Many other spheres of society have also changed. Unfortunately, the children of the internet age are being raised by those who were not from the internet age, and we now have children and teenagers using the internet irresponsibly.

Teenagers and children are not known for their reasoning skills and with good reason. They CAN’T reason like adults. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher reasoning, is one of the last parts of the brain to develop fully, and brain development is not usually complete until around ages 21-25. It is bad parenting to expect teenagers to behave as if they have the reasoning skills of adults.

And yet, people are interacting with the internet at younger and younger ages. Many don’t monitor their wards’ internet access, or they operate in a trust centered approach. Teenagers are also known to be rebellious, and it is easy to be rebellious when you can do things in having two Facebook profiles or snap chatting nude photos. Remember, teenagers can’t and won’t reason like adults. This kind of behavior really should be looked for.

It gets worse, many of online bad behaviors are being criminalized. Teenagers sending naked pictures of themselves, can be considered distribution of child pornography. Posting mean things to each others profiles can, in some instances, be seen as cyber bullying, and anti-bullying laws are getting more widespread and stricter. Nothing a teenager posts will every really go away. In an age when employers use google, what a teenager posts could haunt them for years if not for lifer.

Parents consider this blog post a warning. It is important for you to understand how the internet works. It is important for you to keep up with the latest apps and technology. I know you all want to protect your children. Keeping up with the internet age will help you do this. Monitor, search, and keep informed.



Tribalism, at first glance, seems to be one of the worst forces for evil. It is responsible for racism. It is responsible for sexism. It was responsible for NAZI Germany, and yet, I doubt tribalism will ever go away. I think most of us cling to some type of tribe. Perhaps a person is proud of being a Democrat, a student, or member of a religion. I observe all of this, and I wonder if tribalism can be a force for good.

Much of the time tribalism doesn’t lead to genocide or racism. Being proud of being a member of a group, can lead to a sense of community. A sense of community can lead to mutual care between members. Unfortunately, this sense of community often leads to the group taking care of themselves first, and it doesn’t always lead to caring for those outside of the group.

However, if everyone belonged to a group, then everyone,perhaps, would have others to care for them. Ideally, everyone could belong to a non-radical group, and everyone would keep the group in check. ( I don’t know, if that’s possible or not). It would nice, if we could use tribalism as a force for good.

I’m not married to any of these thoughts. These ideas are based on me being practical. I’m not for tribalism, but I seriously doubt we will ever see the end of tribalism. If I’m right, then our only choice seems to be to use tribalism as force for good.

Indoctrinating Children

When we use the word “indoctrinate,” we usually have religion in my mind. Many atheists have long spoken against the idea of indoctrinating children into religion, but in reality, all parents indoctrinate their children. Some of us raise our children to be good members of society. Some of us raise our children to be racists, and some of us raise our children to be religious. None of this changes the fact that all children are indoctrinated. So, what is important is what children are indoctrinated to believe.

Say what you want about the religious, but if they actually believe that non-believers are going to burn, how can we expect them to not teach their children about God? This is something I’m concerned about, and so, I can only conclude that some amount of religious indoctrination will always have to be excused. If someone strongly believes that “meat is murder” it cannot be expected that the person won’t teach their children the same.

Of course, some teachings are so horrible that they cannot be excused. There may be certain teachings that are so abhorrent that teaching is tantamount to child abuse. Should we take a child away from her KKK member parents?

I think the only thing people can do is to refuse parents the right of isolating their children. Children need to be introduced to the age-appropriate things society has to offer. Parents may play the biggest role in a child’s life, but society as whole can play a part. This can be done in schooling where thinking skills need to be taught.

Nevertheless, I’m skeptical that society could play a big role, and I’m skeptical that proper schooling will teach actual thinking skills, as opposed to teachers’ biases.

Rape and Consent Post 2: Maybe I shouldn’t have sex with that drunk person

The laws need to be clear about sexual acts, where drugs or alcohol are involved. Two people who are wasted having sex with each other might be unfortunate, but it cannot be rape, since neither could consent. Someone who is not drunk (maybe only had a couple of drinks) having sex with someone who is throwing up and can’t stand up straight is in my opinion a rapist. There is just no telling whether or not the wasted person would have wanted to consent, if they were in their right minds. They cannot consent. We shouldn’t still be in the days where “getting someone drunk” is just considered sneaky or even romantic. It is wrong.

Sadly, many people think it’s the victim’s fault where alcohol or drugs are involved. It may never be smart for someone to get that inebriated at a party. That’s a given, but that does not give the sober/slightly buzzed person a right to take advantage of someone. If you wouldn’t have sex with someone in a coma, paralyzed, or otherwise, you shouldn’t sex with someone as drunk as I have described. It is not just bad sex. It is abuse. The only person with the power of a sound mind in this situation is non-inebriated person. The wasted individual may not even be capable of remembering the event. What does that say about the individual who has sex with them? Well, it tells me they’re immoral. It tells me they are okay taking advantage of people.

Look, I understand there are gray areas, but as far as I’m concerned, their needs to be some standards here. A person who has had two drinks, or no drinks, should not have sex with someone who has had 20. I, also, no some people have ahigh tolerance to drugs or alcohol. Perhaps, and I’m not devoted to this, their should be a set limit on how many drinks a person can have before being labeled as unable to give consent. Even if I’m wrong on setting a limit, we owe it to our men and women to be clear on consent and rape where drugs and alcohol are concerned. Tell me what you think!

Rape and Consent Post 1: Should you actually have to ask?

Rape is a terrible thing, and I hope I didn’t need to tell anyone that. The laws on what’s consider consensual or not need to be reformed. They need to very specific, very clear, and the law needs to understand normal sex practices. We need to be able to distinguish clearly what constitutes rape. I find it very disconcerting that current laws are either ambiguous or stupid or even absent, so I will be writing a series of 3 posts on consent and rape. This first one is simply the background for this conversation.

When I walk around my campus, I always see signs saying, “Ask for her consent every time.” I’ve heard other people say that this is ridiculous. Sex happens in the heat of the moment. The woman (or man) should say no, if things get too heated. Let me be clear. I think it is the responsibility of both parties to make sure they both want to have sexual contact. It may be a hassle. It may not be very romantic. Well, neither is making sure your partner is on birth control/using condom, but I hope most of us do that anyway. The fact of the matter is some people are not very assertive. Situations do happen in the heat of the moment. I’m not saying this should be considered rape under the law, but sometimes with passive people, they don’t feel like they can say no. They might not even have expected sex. All of sudden sex is just happening that they didn’t ask for. They end up having unwanted sex. Thus, to the passive person, it is like being raped, even if a “no” was never uttered. It is clearer for everyone involved, if you verbally ask for consent. Please, guys and girls, ask for consent, especially if it is your first time with a particular partner.

What’s the Meaning of Life? And Other Questions

A lot of atheists maintain that we create our own meaning. Famous people such as Neil Degrass Tyson and Richard Dawkins have said as much, but for someone prone to existential crisis I’m not sure that helps.

When people ask what the meaning of life is, they are usually asking an objective value based question. Phrased better: what is the meaning of life, ultimately? But, there are no good answers to these types of questions. Look at some other value based questions. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do people have to die? Why does everything change? Why do people and animals suffer? There just simply aren’t answers to these questions.

At this point, a theist usually balks. These, to them, are important questions requiring an answer, and the theist is likely to point to their particular religion for the answers. However, not every question or every sentence is logical. At this point, perhaps my math background helps. Take a look at this sentence: this statement is false. If it’s true, then the statement is false. This is a logical contradiction. If it’s false, then the statement is still false. If it is true, it false, and if it’s false, it is false. (Here is an article in case you are confused.) The statement cannot be true or false.

We are humans. We are used to human agents doing thins for reasons, but the universe and life events don’t work that way. If there is no human-like being running the show, it is very unlikely that objective value based questions have answers.There just aren’t. Now, I’m sorry, if this bothers people, but that’s the way the world is as far as I can tell.

Even I, would like to have answers. There is something deeply satisfying about having answers, but there aren’t always answers. I know how it can feel to lose a loved one at a young age, and it is hard not ask why. My advice? Just don’t ask these types of questions. Things like death and suffering are just natural parts of life, and it’s time we just accept that.

Reflections on Psychotic Disorders

Many people, including mental health professionals, see how severe psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, can be and instantaneously presume it is mostly biological. Now, most do believe in the value of talk therapy, and it is widely recognized that schizophrenia often starts with a stressful trigger. These triggers can include things as normal as a first year of college or as terrible as a trauma such as a sexual assault. Now, I’m not doubting genetic factors or other biological factors exist in those of us with psychotic disorders, but I have a pet theory on what these disorders are. While, I admit the following is more of a personal opinion than science. I, also, doubt it would be considered complete pseudoscience.

I think it is at least possible that mental disorders are an over reaction to stimuli. (There has been scientific discussion on this.) For example, it is normal to be anxious about an exam. It is not normal to have a panic attack over an exam if one is well prepared. Still, people see psychotic disorders, and think psychosis is so strange it has to be an exceptional case. Well, maybe it is not so different. People without psychotic disorders do have hallucinations on occasion. For example, a person who is sure they heard their phone ring when it wasn’t, in fact, ringing. Now, this doesn’t rise to the level where most people would be bothered, and, yes, people with psychotic disorders have a greater level and frequency of these hallucinations.

In earlier times, certain aspects of mental issues (notice not I didn’t say disorder) were probably more beneficial than they are today. Think about anxiousness. It might be good to be anxious when someone thought they heard footsteps at night. It could have been a dangerous animal. Even, if someone gets anxious half a dozen times when there isn’t a good reason, the fact that this person is on edge might help them realize a real threat with greater frequency. It is better to be wrongly anxious half a dozen times, than wrong about a deadly threat once. Similarly, it might be good to be wrong about, actually, hearing a growling bear a few times and then, always be on the look out and be right once. This is especially true if the person has some previous experience where they felt at risk (stressor.) Now that there person has previously experienced a terrible event, there mind is on the look out.

Now, I am not suggesting that in ancient times mental disorders were a good thing. I’m saying what any mental health professional will tell anyone. We all have aspects of mental disorders. We all can get too anxious sometimes. We all can have some hallucinations. Still, some people are so chronically anxious or hallucinate chronically, and these people can’t function normally. My point is this: psychotic people aren’t as different from the norm as people think. Anxiety disorders might be over reactions, and I, personally, think we shouldn’t look at psychotic disorders any differently.

I, highly, doubt most of what I have said about anxiety is that far away from what a lot of people in psychology say about it, but it has been my experience that as soon as someone says something about psychosis people back away. They can’t see how psychosis could work the same way. Well, I disagree.