Some advice for living in the computer age

Teach your children well to use computers as tools and not as a place the lose themselves in.

As I read over the letters to Santa from students in our area, I worry, as I’m sure generations before me did, what is going to happen to our children?

Computers, video games, cell phones… Lots of electronic devices that can entertain a youngster (and an adult) for hours at a time, without ever having to leave the house.

And I worry about the health of the next generation whose entertainment is mostly sedentary; and I also worry about how they will develop the sense of community that glues us together on this planet.

Computers were developed as a way to enhance communication and knowledge. And now they do everything that television does – and more.

Television was once touted as an education tool. Some people still defend it as such. But mainly it provides entertainment.

I would no more advocate getting rid of computers than I would television. Take away one addiction and people will find another to take its place.

I wonder what “they” did in the days before television. Perhaps they were addicted to reading. And before you can say “that’s not a bad thing”, it is if it causes the reader to ignore commitments, duties, family, etc.

If you are contemplating buying a computer or the similar electronic devices for your children, please teach them that “social” media like Facebook is no substitute for face to face contact with people. Connecting with people online is nothing like talking face to face, holding hands, enjoying activities together, etc.

These activities may eventually lead to volunteering for community events. Sitting for long hours at a computer forwarding jokes, uploading videos of your cat, or playing games will not.

Imagine your family gathering this Christmas: each one sitting in their separate home, connecting online. No dishes to wash, but no spontaneous conversation, no laughter, no heavenly smells in the kitchen.

Children look to adults for guidance and advice. Show them by example that sitting in front of a computer is not the way they want to spend the rest of their lives!

Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal