[Wildcat Online: opinions] [ad info]





Pushing kids into the quagmire


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Zack Armstrong

By Zack Armstrong
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 22, 2000
Talk about this story

According to recent reports, 95 percent of the nation's grade schools are now hooked up to the Internet. This is an incredible jump up from the mere 35 percent that were connected five years ago. While this may look like a step forward - a grand example of the advancement of our society - in years to come we will regret this push on Internet access. If it doesn't get cleaned up, the Internet will ruin us all.

It wouldn't be so bad if the Internet was strictly a source of education and a means to promote that education. That would be perfect, but it isn't like that. It is a quagmire of selling and consuming that is getting worse by the minute and will eventually lead to a world full of people more superficial and materialistic than all of Southern California.

It is impossible to turn on the television lately without seeing dozens of commercials pushing new and exciting Web sites that are sure to make our lives more livable and our society greater. This is, assuming of course, that we are buying what they are offering. These Web sites all have something to sell, and they know that the only way that we can buy them is if we stay in our homes, stare at our computers and cough up our credit card numbers. I have seen one commercial that actually promotes the idea that you don't have to leave your house at all. Ever. Everything that you could possibly need can be ordered online and delivered right to your door. If you put your computer next to your door, you won't even have to get out of your chair to receive your precious new toys. You'll just have to open the door.

People can work through use of the Internet too. This is happening more and more frequently. At the rate we're going, we really won't have to leave the house. We will begin to rely on chat rooms to fulfill our social needs and women will be able to contact on-line sperm-banks to reproduce. And there's plenty of Internet porn out there to keep the men at their optimum production levels, in turn, keeping the banks full of currency - so to speak.

Eventually our eyes will be completely ruined, only be able to focus on a computer screen. And even if we wanted to go outside we couldn't because the light from the sun would make our eyes explode. Not to mention the fact that we couldn't get up to walk there because the only muscles in our bodies that will have developed will be in our index fingers. Except, of course, for the men, due to the incredible amount of porn that I mentioned before.

This may be slightly extreme, but the fact remains that the promotion of life on the Internet creates an unrealistic and two-dimensional view of the world that we don't want our children to have. The creation of video games was bad enough. Kids today would rather play basketball and hockey on their gaming systems than get out of their houses and play in the real world. This cuts down tremendously on the development of their social skills.

If they can meet people online and shop online as well, they will no longer have the need to go out at all. They won't even want to go to the Mall. I never thought I'd be defending "hanging out" at the mall, but it seems better than the alternative. At least they get some social skills out of it. At least they have some human interaction.

Internet in schools can be a good thing, but not if it continues in the direction that it's going. The Internet needs to be about education. It needs to be about free information and providing tools that promote learning. That's where the true power of the Internet can be found.

We need to clean house on the Internet. We need to get rid of the selling and consuming that seems to be taking over. No more Amazon. No more Ebay. The only sites I want to see are ones that report the news and ones that promote and provide the spread of information instead of the spread of wealth. Otherwise, we will become a nation full of useless zombies, weak enough for Canada to conquer.

[end content]
[ad info]