Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Hi everyone. Here are my questions:

(1) I think one thing we need to think about is how reliable this data is. For instance, does the Dept. of Commerce have any incentive to exaggerate, say, the number of minorities who have access to the Internet in the U.S.? Don't statistics like this improve their appearance, as well as other government departments, to the general public?

(2) In the few years both before and after television came out, it was celebrated as an amazing technological breakthrough that would better our society immensely. And in the first few years, only a select few people could own it. Then nearly everyone got access to television, and this was supposed to be a great thing. But now, there are thousands of reports out there that say television is making us dumber. Maybe everyone having easy access to it wasn’t such a good thing after all…

Now it seems the same thing is happening with the Internet. Once everyone gets access to it, will we only then realize the negative drawbacks, or do such negative drawbacks not exist with the Internet?

And furthermore, is it the case that when you make a technology easily accessible to the mass, you are forced to dumb it down – which defeats the original purposes of the technology (think of the origins of the Internet, its initial purposes, and the desires of the government to create Internet II)?

(3) The report certainly points out with glee that more children are getting access to the Internet these days. For instance, it shows that over 40 percent of 5-9 year olds have access to the Internet (p.52). But is this such a good thing? First of all, how useful is the Internet as a learning tool, especially when you consider that most kids are only interested in games and AIM, which the Internet supplies a plethora of?

Also, isn’t it good for kids to get a grounding in learning WITHOUT technology before they learn with it? There is a lot of value in learning how to research through libraries and books, and a great part of that value is accountability. Plus, if the day ever comes when they don’t have access to technology, are they going to have any idea of how to get by without it?

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