shift-controlPosted: February 12, 2012
I’m lucky. I have two great kids. But they’re kids. Sometimes their minds take a step back just before their bodies take two steps forward. (I got a C+ in my one Education class, so I’m pretty qualified here.)
My son recently had such an episode. So we decided to put a moat around him—the old ‘put him on an island.’ No mobile, iPad, iPod, television, or computer– other than for schoolwork. Isolate him so he can think of his err in solitude. Sounded like a solid plan.
Useless. I checked in on his Facebook. Pretty active for someone without access to it. Maybe he’d discovered (or invented!) a literal form of cloud computing. What I do know is this: despite our worst intentions, life moved on fine for him– a bit less elegantly perhaps, but he was far from the monk’s incommunicado we were shooting for.
I felt like Wile E. Coyote. So close, yet so far.
The bottom line is, the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to content. In fact the genie has made the bottle her bitch for daring to think it was content itself. It isn’t.
Whether it’s the bad prose of a lovesick thirteen year old, the call to courage from a rebel leader on some chaotic front line, or a song the big labels didn’t think would climb the charts, it will find its mark as surely as if it was shot from Apollo’s bow. Every time.
You can restrict people’s movement but not their content, their communication. Jail them. Kill them. (Both of which I briefly considered) but their voice, their content, is completely fungible in a connected world. It slips passed any guard, under any door, out any window.
Iran “turned off the Internet” last week. Good luck with that. They can kill rebels, but they can’t quiet them. Technology now favors the many, not the one. Fortune once favored the puppeteer. Now she favors the wireless.