I am listening to my children in the other room right now. They are cracking up laughing at the Chicken Heart that Ate New York City. It is on the Wonderfulness album by Bill Cosby. It is an album that I used to listen to over and over again at their age. I listened to it on my parents’ record player. My kids are listening to it through our television, on you tube. YouTube is transferred to our television through a little gadget called Apple TV. Until my husband brought it home one day, I had no idea that such a thing existed.
I started reading Ray Bradbury at a very young age, and to this day, he is one of my all time favorite authors. I have always shared his wariness when it comes to technology. If you have read much of his work, you know that he wrote many stories that hinted to the dangers technology poses to man. My favorite is called “The Veldt.” My father once told me that Ray never owned a car, that he rode his bicycle around a lot…in L.A. of all places. I don’t like to think that my anxiety toward technology is a fear of change. I can see the negative results of technology all around me. So a reaction of wariness makes sense. Technology in the forms of television and videogames are fueling the epidemics of ADHD and obesity in our country. Technology has allowed the press to turn into a self-serving monstrosity. It invades our privacy, allows predators to gain access to communication with our children. All of these things are real and they are a bit frightening. They are definitely not to be ignored.
It took just a few words from my sister, my husband’s sister, who is about ten years younger than I am, to convince me to look at the other side of the coin. Technology has made everything in the world available to everyone. I heard about a man who has been leaving laptops around desolate areas in Africa, and when the children find them, which they always eventually do, they figure out how to use them every time. I find this fantastically cool! Today we can learn how to do almost anything, just by going on line and looking it up. Most of this information is free, and the power in that is remarkable. We have the ultimate tools to fight ignorance in the world and, they are becoming more and more available to all people, every single day. So I am learning to take a deep breath and remember that all of this isn’t all that scary. All that I can do is teach my children to embrace this power with care and responsibility. Then I just have to wait and see what happens…I am anticipating wonderful things.
Here is a link where you can find the short story “The Veldt” by: Ray Bradbury. http://www.amazon.com/The-Veldt-Tale-Blazers-Literature/dp/0895989662/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382374430&sr=8-1&keywords=the+veldt
Here is an inspiring website that I found which focuses on using technology to power peace: http://peacetour.org/