Nothing new here people. It’s just a tool.

I was at a PTA-like meeting last night at one of my sons schools with my wife (it’s actually like a class but that’s a whole other story). Next thing you know we were talking about “Things that get in the way of our children’s success.” Of course sooner or later subjects like Myspace, instant messaging and porn come up. It soon became quite a hot topic when some parents believed children should never have computers in their rooms.

I have a lot of thoughts on this subject being a young curious kid myself. However, no sooner had I thought about all the things I could say before my wife redirects the crowds attention to me explaining how our kids don’t have this problem. In short I explained to the class that a computer in the room is like having a whole bookshelf full of books because of all you can learn and that with some small tweeks you can provide some amount of safety. However, if I had wanted to spend more time on the subject I would have taken a different tact to address a more pessimistic mother.

After the class seemed appeased with the fact that they can provide a good amount of internet safety, one pessimistic mother had something to add. “Children will always find a way around whatever you do.” I didn’t respond however I was at first insulted by her defeatist attitude before I realized that the core of the problem was elsewhere. The child.

I tell companies this all the time as well as families: “The computer is a tool just like a hammer is.” That’s it! It may be slicker looking, made of plastic and metal and have lights but it’s just a tool. A hammer can be used to build a house or kill someone. It all depends on the operator of that tool. In the context of the class, I could have provided security on the level of the CIA on that computer however, just like with a hammer, if you want to do something malicious there are hammers laying around all over town.

“There is no new thing under the sun” is a verse from Ecclesiastes 1:9 (which I searched for on the internet). It holds true for all the things we talked about in class that people who watch the news all the time need to realize. Our world is no worse than 2000 years ago when Jesus was here and people felt it was the end of times. People afraid of homosexuals in office don’t realize that most of the Greek and Roman senates were openly gay back then. Murder and mutilation were paraded in the streets. Rape happened often. The world hasn’t changed it’s just newer and faster tools.

The cycle continues you just need to focus on the operators not the tools.

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