3 years, 9 months, and 18 days. Be wary of social media: use it wisely, not blindly.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I love you.  I miss you.  Know that no one and nothing could ever take the place of my sons.  Ever.  You will always have a special place in my heart.

That’s why I want you to have a safe, successful, meaningful, and happy life.

 

... Quote: A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for

Live.  Explore.  Use available means to expand your minds and your horizons.

The internet is a great tool for that.  With a click of a mouse, you have access to millions of books to read,

numerous on-line courses,

hundreds of first-hand accounts of travel and life around the world

However, as with all things, the internet has its negative side.  It presents a grave danger for numerous reasons.  First and foremost, because people can post things anonymously and hide behind the anonymity, they are more likely to post mean and nasty things which they would not otherwise say or do in person, where their identity is easily determined.  Numerous studies have shown darkness and anonymity encourages dishonesty and antisocial behaviors.  See, e.g., http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.1976.9711936#preview; http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/01/28/0956797609360754; and, https://newrepublic.com/article/117152/how-sunglasses-and-masks-affect-moral-behavior.   Second, kids and people of limited capacity are particularly vulnerable to these dark, mean, and misinformed posts because they lack the tools to objectively assess the truth or veracity of the posts.  See, e.g., https://newrepublic.com/article/117152/how-sunglasses-and-masks-affect-moral-behavior; http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/26/13413292/social-media-disrupting-politics; and, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/28/the-man-who-duped-trumpkins-fox-news.html.  Thus, kids are often exposed to — and fall prey to —  cyber-bullying, sexual predators, pornography, and misinformation via the internet.  See, e.g., http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/4-dangers-internet; http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/01/03/7-dangers-of-the-internet-for-kids/; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10619007/Children-using-social-networks-underage-exposes-them-to-danger.html; and, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9637676/The-internet-can-be-a-dark-and-dangerous-place.html.

Another danger is that the internet makes it easier for people to close themselves off by limiting their interactions only to like-minded individuals.  The danger here can be great because group think frequently fosters and heightens the negative traits around which the group was formed.  For example, hate group exchange anecdotes and hate-filled stories, stoking further the flames of hatred.  Often, the voice of reason and of dissent are absent (or ejected) from such groups; thus, the tenor of their conversations is very one-sided. Add youth and limited capacity to the mix, and a volatile environment ensues.

According to Julie Lynn Evans, a leading child psychotherapist, one of the dangers of the internet is the plethora of chatrooms to explore the numerous human interests – both the healthy and perverted.

“The misery in those chatrooms is overwhelming and heart-rending – the sheer weight of it,” she says. “Teenagers haven’t got anybody with a good, strong sense of self-worth to protect them when they are in there. The chatrooms become their reality.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9637676/The-internet-can-be-a-dark-and-dangerous-place.html.

Thus, beware of the internet.  Use it wisely.  Be critical.  Always ask who the speaker is and what his/her biases are.  Information from trusted sources that have been vetted by experts are more trustworthy then blogs and postings by organizations or individuals with a bone to pick.

Stay safe, my sons.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

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