Monday, April 4, 2011

How many ruined lives will it take?

I was writing a few short weeks back that our technological advances have by far outsripped our ability to understand and integrate them in our ever day living with often disastrous consequences. And here I am again, sounding like a broken record, asking again what would it take for the community, the parents, the educational system to wake up?

Front page in the New York Times last Sunday: A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives: At 14 she thought it perfectly logical to sext her boyfriend nude pictures of herself, he in tern found it self aggrandizing to forward these pictures to his best friend who in the penultimate wisdom of his own 14 years on this planet thought nothing of forwarding them to the girl’s archenemy. You can imagine the rest. Or can you? Did you know that circulating pictures of underage kids(even if they are circulated by other kids) is considered distribution of child pornography, a charge carrying imprisonment? Well the kids had no clue, even scarier; their parents had no clue either.

Parents think that it is totally innocuous to give a kid a phone or a computer and leave him/her alone with them. They never stop to think that they are handling their kid a loaded gun and license to destroy lives with impunity. But to be fair, how would parents know the apparently unending possibilities and applications of the new technology? Who is educating the parents?

Would, I wonder, break the budget to have classes for parents, starting from kindergarten all through high school, to educate them about the ethical and legal hazards of the new technology? How much money or time would you be willing to spend to save the live or future reputation of your child? Schools have mandatory inoculations to prevent the spread of epidemics, yet there is an epidemic that is spreading like a wild fire among the youth: the epidemic of ethical irresponsibility out of ignorance. Would it be too much to ask for mandatory inoculations for this epidemic too?