I turned into a bobble-head doll, nodding, nodding, nodding, while reading this excerpt. I’ve already requested it for the library.
We are at a crossroads. There are two possible paths before us–one
in which we destroy what is great about the Internet and about how
young people use it, and one in which we make smart choices and head
toward a bright future in a digital age. The stakes of our actions
today are very high. The choices that we are making now will govern how
our children and grandchildren live their lives in many important ways:
how they shape their identities, protect their privacy, and keep
themselves safe; how they create, understand, and shape the information
that underlies the decision-making of their generation; and how they
learn, innovate, and take responsibility as citizens. On one of these
paths, we seek to constrain their creativity, self-expression, and
innovation in public and private spheres; on the other, we embrace
these things while minimizing the dangers that come with the new era.
Fear is the single biggest obstacle to getting started on that second
path, the one where we realize the potential of digital technology and
the way that Digital Natives are using it. Parents, educators, and
psychologists all have legitimate reasons to worry about the digital
environment in which young people are spending so much of their time.
So do corporations, who see their revenues at risk in industry after
industry–recorded entertainment, telephony, newspapers, and on and on.
Lawmakers, responding to this sense of crisis, fear that they will pay
a high price if they fail to act in the traditional manner to right
these wrongs. The
choices that we are making now will govern how our children and
grandchildren live their lives in many important ways: how they shape
their identities, protect their privacy, and keep themselves safe.
The media feeds this fear. News coverage is saturated with frightening
stories of cyberbullying, online predators, Internet addiction, and
online pornography. Of course parents worry. Parents worry most that
their digitally connected kids are at risk of abduction when they spend
hours a day in an uncontrolled digital environment where few things are
precisely as they seem at first glance. They worry, too, about bullying
that their children may encounter online, addiction to violent video
games, and access to pornographic and hateful images. —Palfrey and Gasser