the babel machine


Thursday, September 22, 2005

what our kids are doing online

I don't know if you feel the same way, but when I was growing up, I had this notion that when we became adults, we would know what we were supposed to do all the time. It's like after years of being a kid and then a teen, one day you'd wake up and wham, you're an adult and you think, feel and act like one. That you would never have doubts. That the world would make absolutely perfect sense.

Obviously, that's not how life works. It's not a simple, magical transformation, like the kid Billy Batson saying "Shazam!" and turning into Captain Marvel. (And no, don't tell me that comic books are just for kids, hehe.) Particularly when we're talking about parenthood.

I think it's only when we become parents ourselves that we realize that our own parents must not have been the absolutely confident, infallible creatures we imagined them to be when we were kids. It's schocking to think that they might have felt as overwhelmed and as worried as we sometimes are now if we're doing the right thing and being good parents.

It's a learning process, really, an exciting adventure that we share with our kids. Sure, being a parent has its up and downs, and some days can be more trying than others, but my wife Ellen and I wouldn't exchange it for anything in the world. I'm lucky that I get to spend more time with my daughter Sam, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Which is why I could definitely relate to a Computer Associates media conference on keeping the Internet safe for our children.

Here's my @Play Infotech column piece:

IT’S SOMEHOW fitting that Computer Associates held a media briefing on keeping the Internet safe for children on September 21, the 33rd anniversary of the day martial law was declared in the Philippines.

Without going into a lengthy discussion of martial law and the anti-Arroyo rally being staged in Makati City as I write this, I think one of the main reasons for the failure of the social reforms the late Ferdinand Marcos' Bagong Lipunan (New Society) was supposed to introduce (assuming, of course, that the proponents initially intended to reform Philippine society) was that the government sought to impose change on the Filipino people.

If there's anything I've learned about human nature in my own 33 years of existence (yup, I'm a martial law baby), it's that you can't really force people to change. Change has to come from within, when people realize why they have to change and voluntarily embrace a new way of living. Sure, legislation is necessary to deter and punish criminals, but in the end you can't enforce the law without also making people aware of why these laws exist and convincing them that they should follow these laws for their own good. If all you can offer is an iron fist, people will obey you outwardly out of fear, but in their hearts and minds will keep seeking ways to break your laws and subvert your system.

Read the full column piece.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 9:38 AM :: 0 Comments:

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