Just Surfing…

One day, while I was sitting in the living room, I heard the words, “Hey Google, show me ballet practice lessons”. As it is programmed to do, Google obeyed and in no time, hundreds of ballet lessons downloaded. This request was made by a child.

Just then, a thought came to me, what if she asked for something that she wasn’t supposed to? Well, Google would have done its job and rolled out lots of information. I realized how easily information would be made available to that child and how much could be opened up to her instantly. This could be a good thing, but also a scary thought at the same time. The internet can also provide a ‘short cut’ to finding quick answers as I have watched my own daughter recommend “let’s ask Google” several times. Even though her recommendation wasn’t bad in itself, we noticed that it started replacing simple tasks like thinking things through or searching out the meaning of a word from the dictionary.

One of the major problems we face today, is information overload. There is information everywhere, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Surfing through the internet, we can now find in five minutes what would have taken our grandparents years to discover. With just a click, we can know what is happening thousands of miles away in real time as if we were physically there. This again is meant to be a good thing. But the danger for us, especially the younger folks is that the internet is not able to distinguish who is asking.

Growing up, we got all our information from school or our parents. Parents were able to provide appropriate explanations or highlight that “you are not old enough for such topics”. For most children, it worked! You had a choice to either forget about the issue or wait till you were old enough.

The Internet is a great tool, a good source of information and avenue for communication. But it is also like a ‘bottomless pit’ and a border-less space if not well monitored. It sucks users deeper and deeper and has often lead some to experience anxiety, depression, discontentment and even loneliness. Some countries now have Cyber Addiction Rehabilitation Centers to help pull addicted users out of this pit.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It is important to remember that search engines, internet sites and apps are not programmed to distinguish a child’s voice from an adult’s, positive from negative content, truth from lies etc. However, most apps now have built in age restrictions, limitations and child safe features. As parents/guardians, we owe it to our younger ones to moderate their interface with the internet, ensuring that it is a safe space for them. We can teach them early not to be overly dependent on the internet by simply directing them back to resources like Dictionaries, Atlas and Encyclopedias and letting them see us use these resources too. This recommendation may seem archaic, but we need to remember the scripture that says “whoever causes one of this little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 NKJV). Research also also shows that our over reliance on technology is making us become mentally lazy as we now rely on the internet to think for us. Simply put, the more of ourselves we give to the Cyber world, the more it takes from our Reality!

Note to self – In the cyber world, you are your best defense!

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14 thoughts on “Just Surfing…

  1. Interesting read I must say. I have always known that it’s better to guide my children through the book shelf, whenever they seek answers to secular and spiritual questions. What I have never given thought to, is the scary thought of a child being exposed to unsolicited information, while surfing the internet, that can pull down the moral walls we, the parents, have been building. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Well done ✅

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    1. Thank you for your comments. That is so true, the moral walls we have been building as parents for years can be pulled down in minutes through unmonitored internet usage.

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  2. Great insight!
    Surfing The Internet is truly amazing but Gradual Exchange of Value and Reading Culture.
    Wisdom and Caution is needed. Thanks.

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  3. Thanks for this wonderful post. This has opened my eyes as I have ignored to monitor how much time spent surfing the net by my teenage girls.
    Well done guys.

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  4. This for me is a wake up call, a reality check if you like. I have to deliberately start guiding my kids so they don’t become overtly dependent on the internet alone for answers to simple questions, something I could say I’m sometimes guilty of.

    The part about intellectual laziness is what I find the most interesting. Hopefully, we don’t expose these kids to certain content that are are not age appropriate.

    Nice work Ido & Thelma, I enjoyed reading all through.

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    1. Thank you. We have all been through this mental laziness that is caused by over dependence on this internet. We just have to consciously rise above it.

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  5. ” our over reliance on technology is making us become mentally lazy as we now rely on the internet to think for us”. Very true, a simple bible quotation, people don’t have the time to search the scriptures anymore, because a single click on Google will do the job. Very apt, more grace to you Sir and Ma’am

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    1. Very true and a lot of us are guilty of this. Though the internet has also made the Bible available to many who would have not had one plus making various versions available at one click, having a physical Bible and going through it is still very good practice.

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  6. Google it’s just like going out for fast-food. But why dictionary when my phone can do the magic. The victims of this information age are the children. Thank you ma I’m really blessed

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    1. While the internet makes things easy, we as adults still need to exercise caution. Thank you for your comments.

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  7. Wow,I missed this topic just surfing last week. It’s quite interesting to see that the internet has really made life easier but at the same time make a lot of people mentally lazy. For me, I think my children will have to go through the rudiments of the dictionary, atlas etc before I even introduce and give them access to the internet. God is our HELP on this subject matter. Thank you my Pastors. Remain blessed.

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  8. Never occurred to be that over-reliance on the Internet could lead to mental laziness..Thank you for sharing. I will be more conscious of this

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