Monday 21 September 2009

The inferiority of a life lived online

There is an excellent Editorial in "The Australian" this morning which challenges the quality of computer culture - that "Facebook friends and online adventures are not the real thing". "Hear! Hear!", say I.
You may think that I have joined another bandwagon, but, fifteen years ago as young parish priest in Leeds and before I had a computer myself, I became aware of how many people were on the threshold of living their lives vicariously through Soap Opera dramas, even to the point that it seemed as though the family drama on the TV was more real to them that the lives of their own families. With older people it was sometimes the case that loneliness and the lack of a supportive family led them to follow the Soap Opera drama too personally.
Today the emphasis has shifted to on-line culture which draws young people in so addictively. Today's Editorial quotes Baroness Greenfield: "the more young people are on-line, the less time they spend in the company of human beings, learning how the real world works. ... And exercise is far better for everybody than obsessively slaying monsters or indulging adolescent interests in on-line pornography."
Yes, "children and adolescents need to see their friends in the flesh, and talk, not tweet." I joined Twitter a couple of months ago but left a few days later when I saw how vacuous it was.
Actually, children and young people first need parents who will kick the computer and the mobile into touch and then spend time with their offspring, conversing and eating together, taking them out to play sports, to visit museums and to discover the countryside, and thereby build real, not virtual, culture - based upon real human contact and upon the real roles of parents.
This Blog, too, hardly makes the grade - there are as many good reasons to delete it as there are to maintain it!

No comments: