Monday, May 20, 2013

Big Internet = Big Responsibility

Isn’t it weird to think that The Internet, the nontangible place we go to daily, once never existed…. 
At all?
Last semester my health law and policy teachers assigned a group project called a health impact assessment (HIA) to my class. My group was looking into Denver Public School’s obesity rates in children and while conducting our research my partner and I literally stopped and realized when we were in elementary school, just less than a decade ago, our parents, teachers, principals, the secretaries and police officers of our school districts had virtually no e-mail connections or internet networks to contact each other; or smart phones for that matter. My small school project group was able to walk into several elementary schools and successfully receive over one hundred handwritten e-mails of teachers and parents. A lot has clearly changed in a very short period of time.

Growing up, my father worked with a lot of computers and technology. Walkie-talkies, beepers, pagers, laptops, they were my toys. I would spend hours pretending to type on the laptops, even before I knew how to read and write. I’d play with the paint applications, and solitaire features, but I’ll never forget the day I discovered Internet Explorer.

I can’t remember exactly how old I was… but I do recall lying in my room on my waterbed when an idea hit me like a bolt of lightning. I sat up, unplugged my home phone connection from the wall outlet, plugged the connection into the back of my huge Dell, and inserted one of those 1,000 hours AOL disks that stores use to give away for free in those really huge boxes.
My parents heard about the dangers of myspace on the local news station so I was forbidden to ever go ‘online’. All my cool friends had AOL screen names and bios, but that never convinced my parents enough to pay for any monthly web services. Sitting there at my little desk, I admired the weird unearthly dial tone until it came to a stop, clicked on the internet explorer globe icon and….
The World Wide Web.

My life has never been the same and a lot has happened since then. I have contributed to the mass cloud of information and data quite a bit. And while doing so I have learned a tremendous amount about the world and myself. Honestly I can’t imagine what my life would be like without ‘the internet’.
Today social media, e-mail, applications, software, coding, and so much more allow us to communicate, meet, direct, help, assist, work with, and serve others in ways that all the populations and generations before us never could. I honestly believe it is our responsibility to use these privileges for good and only good.