Just because we may not be able to immediately observe the consequences of our 'actions' over the internet does not mean that we are immune to them. Perhaps the false sense of disconnection that the internet ironically provides for us, in that we find ourselves involved but only from 'afar' when in actual fact there is no such thing really, fools us into a sense of false security - we think we can say what we want, however we want, whenever we want with no repercussions.
i'm all for freedom (and that of speech as well) but freedom does not equate to freedom from responsibility. There are more than enough examples of things said and done in the name of personal freedom, with many a time the internet being the main means of propagation, in which the result was nothing short of the contrary... fines, jail sentences, divorce proceedings, forced resignations... not to mention the devastation of the said individuals' lives and those related to them. Recent news of how people sharing their thoughts and activities on their facebook profiles leading to them being fired from their jobs or how people have 'fallen in love' online only to be swindled of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their 'relationship', really drives the point home.
It's even more poignant when children and adolescents use this very powerful tool of mass media to 'share' in what they think to be a very safe and secure environment when in actual fact they're only laying themselves bare and vulnerable to just as much if not more social pressure, peer influence, corporate propaganda and the like than if they were in the 'real world' (so to speak). It is even of more concern when in the majority of instances (especially without proper parental supervision - which is usually the case since parents are often less than aware of their children's activities online and don't always know how things work thereby shying away from the world wide web altogether) these 'kids' are not aware of these 'dangers' and the detriment it can cause to their personal psychological, social and sometimes even physical development and health. Insecurity, materialism, immorality and, believe it or not, ignorance can be bred further and deeper amongst these who are still finding out who they are and what they believe in - perhaps in the most impressionable stage of their lives.
It pains me personally to see and 'hear' the young and innocent amongst us making 'statements' and 'declarations' from what they think to be a very mature and perhaps even informed perspective when the reality is anything but. It screams fragility, naiveness and above all an overall 'lack' - of understanding, maturity, conviction... and to add insult to injury they parade it proudly.
How do we expect to develop a generation of men and women greater than what we are or will ever be?
Shouldn't that be our goal?
Perhaps, it's our fault and failure for letting our own ignorance and apathy breed their contempt for virtue, truth, knowledge, moral and principle?
As a new father myself, thinking in terms of 'one generation to another' and 'the legacy left behind' strikes a very strong and personal chord. My dream for my children cannot and should not be reduced to only comprise a string of achievements, academic pursuits, talents and skills but far more so, a developed and mature personhood, a deep and unswerving sense of conviction, an appreciation and appropriation of the higher virtues of charity and service and most of all a sure and set firm love and fear for God.
Yes, the internet plays a pivotal role in our lives and i expect it to for a long time more to come but far be it from me to not equip my own so that this powerful tool can be harnessed to their much benefit and not their detriment.