When do texting, 'Facebooking' and tweeting become simply too much, asks Liz Quirin
IF NOT actually ruling our lives and the universe, technology has become ubiquitous.
If people aren’t texting in meetings, or even in church, they’re sitting at the dinner table in homes or restaurants with their phones in their laps, staying connected to someone through SMSes.
In fact, some people prefer texting to talking so they are not so much interrupted as redirected briefly by a text and then a reply.
Whether it’s texting, “Facebooking” or tweeting, people use their technology for good or ill, based on their ethical frame of reference. If we consider the need for texting or actually calling people, the technology can potentially save lives.
For instance, schools can send a text or voice blast to all of their students if something happens on campus that everyone needs to know immediately.
Instant communications can save lives, and technology can alert people to potential dangers.
However, though we live in an age that touts all of the technological advances that have been made, we also live at a time when moral and ethical behaviour in cyberspace need to be addressed.
We have children texting at the dinner table, employees texting during business meetings, some texting during the Mass and, heaven forbid, a few texting while driving (which has caused numerous accidents).
It has fallen to the schools to go beyond “netiquette” to teach students about cyber rules, and they are trying.
Classes are being taught on cyber bullying – what to do to be safe on the Internet and what not to put on a Facebook page.
Sometimes adults forget that they are parents. They are not their children’s friends. But some of them don’t realise this.
If they didn’t have cellphones growing up, they’re giving them to their children. If they didn’t have all the other technological gimmicks, they want to make sure their children don’t miss out.
Here’s something to think about: If you spend time with your children, laughing, talking and even praying, they are not missing out on anything.
In fact, they’re way ahead of the kids who have all the gadgets and none of the real face time with their parents or other adults who love them, can talk with them and hug them right now.
We are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers no matter what their age.
We need to stay engaged with our youngsters at every turn they make so that they don’t become a casualty of this cyber age.
With good advice and nurturing, they can lead their peers and the next generation into a responsible and responsive technology age where all people are respected and ethical behaviour is the rule, and where all of our gizmos and technological toys are used to help and not to hurt others. - CNS