We now have more computers per household than bicycles. Apparently, there are an average of 2.6 computers in each home. The result is we are spending more time attached to our PCs than we are to each other. And that is certain to have several impacts on our lives – and the development of our children. For a start, less time with other people is a known source of stress – at least for those of us who have grown up in a social setting. For children growing up now, less time at their computer will become a source of stress because their social connections are worldwide via the likes of MySpace or FaceBook. So we are a crucial “switchover” time in human behaviour that will inevitably lead to conflicts in homes. Parents, used to face to face contact, will find increased Internet usage leads to stress. They will urge their children to do less online, but for a child’s brain that has become “wired” differently by being used to social contact via the Internet, that will also be a cause of stress. Two connected groups – parents and children – both stressed with a common cause, but a different basis for the stress is bound to lead to serious conflict. We are going to enter, fairly soon, the “rock and roll” phase of the Internet. In the late 1950s teenagers collectively rebelled against their parents and the control they exerted over children’s lives. Rock and roll music was the catalyst for major social change. Social networking sites will prove to be the same. The world inhabited by our children online is not our world – we grew up with a different method of connecting with other human beings. That significant difference is the trigger for social change and we are the cusp of a real shift in society, much like the late 1950s.
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