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.


The Internet and Atheists

Atheists seem to have built up quite the online community, but the internet does horrible things to atheists and theists alike. The internet turns people into trolls. People say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone in the real world. I don’t know why. (I’m not a psychologist.) I think, though, that it might have to do with the internet normalizing adverse behavior.

I do not have a problem with an atheist, for example, tweeting disagreement to the Pope. However, I think people should treat each other with some amount of civility. (If you haven’t read through the discussion on the pope’s twitter account, I suggest. It is filled with antagonistic atheists.) It is one thing to say argument x is silly. It is an entirely different thing to rant and rave about how stupid and even horrible someone is for believing x. I’m not saying it is wrong to be assertive with people, and I’m certainly not saying someone shouldn’t call a dumb argument dumb. However, there is a line between using social media to have a debate and being an outright troll. Unfortunately, a lot of peoples’ experience with atheists are from online atheists, and many of these online atheists aren’t helping with angry atheist stereotype.

I’m not making the argument that people should have to “respect” someone’s beliefs. I’m attempting to make the argument that people should respect the person, and it is important to realize that religious views can be a big part of a person. Of course to some degree, offering a differing viewpoint can be considered insulting. In that case, it really is just too bad.

Still, my main point has nothing to do with casual debate. It more about certain online atheists who give the rest of us a bad name. I find that certain online atheists have apparently taken on Richard Dawkins’s approach of “good humored ridicule,” but they’ve taken it to an extreme where it’s no longer “good humored.” (Some may argue that s has taken it too far too, but that’s a different topic. Also, I’m neither saying I’m for nor against Dawkins.)

I’m not trying to tell people how to debate. I’m simply making observations. Everyone once in awhile, I get too much time on my hands and scroll through social media too much.