Digital Danger

It used to be Q-bert on the Atari 2600. We played King’s Quest on a Tandy computer using floppy disks. Now there is Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Concerned parents, teachers and care-givers are asking whether we should be concerned about how digital play has changed our children. Is it ruining their eyesight? Is their ability to talk and play with others forever damaged? Are they carrying more weight because they aren’t playing ball outside with the neighborhood children?

I begin my day with a digital device. That was supposed to be a confession. I’m writing these words using a laptop while sipping on coffee. Sitting in a recliner rather than at my desk at the office, digital devices keep me connected with people I have known for decades in four other states and several foreign countries. The time zones don’t matter because their words and pictures are on my screen when I open it.
The great philosopher Socrates didn’t believe “anything certain or clear could come from what was written down.” He believed that once a writer or painter recorded their experience on paper or canvas, it died. It became static and fixed. There was nothing to probe, no room for empathy. Separated from the living artist or thinker, it was no longer interactive. Since you can never ask the artist what they were thinking when they painted, their expression was frozen in time and always just said the same…one…thing.
 
Will cell phones, video games and the digital devices of our age be the end of us?  Should there be rules, guidelines, or even a ban on these dangerous devices?
 
You won’t want to miss our session on Wednesday, July 24th about Digital Danger. Neither will your friends. This will not be a list of the dangers without a guide for navigating these troubled waters. Concrete, practical suggestions and tools will be offered to help parents, grandparents and friends who are concerned about the devices that seem to be attached to our children’s hands.