“… and Internet for all.”: Is the tool without the literacy a good thing?

I saw an article (Internet Access For All: We’re One Step Closer) this morning regarding the current state of Internet access in American homes, and I had to pause. Is Internet access for all really a good thing? I know, I know… how could I even ask that question?

Let me explain.

I see a great deal of good in Internet access, but I also see a great deal of bad… and some aspects that are very questionable. While we might be one step closer to “Internet access for all”, does that come with a price that we aren’t calculating? What I mean is… Internet responsibility. So, what I’m seeing is a plan/hope to give out the tool, without an education on how to properly use it (and I don’t mean simply how to navigate, but to be responsible “Netizens”).

I mean, look at the human interface with the Internet, now (most especially the social media). While, on one hand, it seems great that so many people have found their “voices”, or platforms for their voices (whether real or imagined by various people), I often wonder about the negative kick-back that has… the false sense of relevance that it can build, the lack of fact-checking as shown in the spreading of lies in silly memes simply because a person agrees with what they say, the ability to become less than human behind a computer screen, etc., etc. If there is really a hope to have the Internet available to every American household, when will there be expectations for an education as to how to act, and how not to act? Additionally, I think folks growing up with the Internet should be taught the writer/reader side of digital literacy, and the differences it has with what we understand as traditional literacy. In short, I’d say there’s a lot of work to be done.

Seriously.

At the very least, I would say that there should be (for starters) some classes in elementary, middle and high schools, and yet… knowing the education system as it is, there will be the question… “Great, but what classes do we have to ditch in order to make room for these new classes?” I get that, but… this Internet access for all thing comes with potentially serious costs [and I wonder how much what is said in this article=> (Suicide rate in U.S. on the rise, with spike for girls age 10-14) might pertain to social media abuses.]

As we hurl faster and faster into the digital abyss, I just think we need to make more time to pause and explore negative and positive impacts, and how to do the Internet better before we start dishing it out like candy on Halloween. Doing anything less, I argue, comes with severe consequences.

 

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2 thoughts on ““… and Internet for all.”: Is the tool without the literacy a good thing?

  1. Excellent points raised, Robert. These remind me of the ads that come out around election time urging people to vote, rather than urging them to educate themselves about what they’re voting on.

    If you’re just going to go into a polling place and pull a straight ticket without understanding who you’re voting for and what issues you’re voting for, what’s the point? It’s probably impossible to get fully up to speed on every single candidate from the national platform down to city and county races, but too many individuals make no effort on any level.

    Like

    • Thanks, CBC.

      Strikes me that this “race” to be the “global masters of the Internet” sets us up to fail more than we can hope to accomplish (if, as I stated earlier, we don’t go about this more responsibly). For that matter, with the government spearheading the initiative, it’s particularly disturbing knowing its failures against those huge hacks only within the last few years.

      Liked by 1 person

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