There is a hidden battle in every home for our children’s mind. The battle is fierce and real with devastating consequences. This is a problem that has subtly infiltrated my home unwittingly. What is that battle? The influence of modern technology by advanced personal devices and applications. Here is a list of some of the enemies.
Facebook is a social media application. Facebook labels all personal connections as a “friend”. This means that a list of 1000+ “friends” is really a handful of friends and many acquaintances. Postings, pictures, and comments/likes can be viewed by friends or anybody on Facebook depending on the privacy settings. These are virtual relationships where you can know many tidbits about somebody: their friends, family, pictures of their food, at the movie, at a restaurant, emotional state, and follow their vacation.
Unfortunately, some people do not understand that this is social media and everybody is not their friend. I have seen family squabbles, bullying, and phone numbers discussed.
If you take a picture with your phone, and location services are turned on, then anybody can know the location of the picture. The location is displayed as GPS coordinates. If a child is in a picture then anybody can right click on the picture to find the longitude and latitude. If it’s a park that you regularly go to then a stalker could visit the park and can recognize your child’s face.
Youtube has millions of videos from amateurs and professionals. This includes full-time vloggers which produce daily regular content for their subscribers. Some of the popular vloggers are internet rock stars. This can consume a lot of time living vicariously through their postings.
- Twitter – Send up to 140 characters to update your followers with a mobile device. Popular with businesses and many artists. Here is a link to a twitter post gone awry.
This nightmare came true for Justine Sacco, a PR consultant who posted an offensive tweet—just 12 words to her 170 followers—while boarding a flight to South Africa.
Instagram is a social media app to share pictures and comments without the ads or drama of Facebook. Some people post to Instagram and the pictures are automatically posted on Facebook or Twitter.
- Snapchat – Similar to Instagram but there is a time limit for viewing the pictures.
- Yik-Yak – a social media smartphone app for people within a 10-mile radius. It’s core audience is high school and college students to make anonymous posts which facilitate gossip.
Texting is for one-on-one or group communications. This is usually short messages on a phone that texts. Texting while driving is dangerous.
Most of these forms of communication are informal. Acronyms and emoji’s (image to express an emotion) are common. The language is lazy and careless which develops bad writing habits. The usage of the words: like, epic, and awesome corrupts and diminishes the meaning of these words. Informal communications do not prepare our kids for the real world.
One of the biggest drawback to these communications is they become an information bubble which is out of touch with current events, history, and critical thinking. Also, youthful indiscretion produces embarrassing pictures, unfortunate comments, and too much personal information shared.
Take the time to google your name and check out the results. It’s good to know what information is available for public consumption. Any employer, background investigator, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, or acquaintance may know more about you than you would like them to know.
- Waze – Free user updated GPS mobile app. Waze is a free GPS app with a twist. The driver updates the app while driving by providing real-time updates of wrecks, detours, etc. This provides access to an up-to-date map with alternate route options.