I am fascinated when the three main topics of my blog (tech/internet, Kids and Israeli Politics) intersect. That happened on Friday when I received the following email from mmaier (not sure who that is).
“This may be the first internet enabled war…
What does that mean? Well how can I describe chatting on ICQ with my son
in an armored troop carrier under fire in Gaza??
Avraham Y, besides being a sharpshooter is a driver of a ATC, so when he isn’t driving he is mostly free. From time to time he will send me philosphical musings on different subjects. I in turn told him about the days when I served in the army in the exact same area of Gaza, that he is today — Only thing is that we use to stand in line at a pay phone to call home….
As a VoIP provider, it makes me think — how does IM and the Internet affect the morale of the soldiers and their parents? Does it make it harder for them? or improves their motivation? What does these do to military security? Are there soldiers Voiping from their PDAs?
A son of a friend is in the tanks fighting in Lebanon. 6 soldiers were killed around him in the last 2 days. What does a mother do — who hears about the fighting — calls her son in the tank and he doesn’t answer? Probably he is busy doing his job, but she of course imagines the worst…
Where will all these instant communications take us??”
This is a fascinating topic and one that bears more analysis. On a massively different level of seriousness, there are two approaches among parents of teenage children about whether to give their kids cell phones. Some parents want to know that their children are safe so they give them cell phones. Others feel that a cell phone is not appropriate for a teen and find other ways to check on their kids. We fall into the latter category. What happens when kids don’t answer in this era of constant communication is an issue we have thought about and dealt with. However, in the context of a war, the stakes are dramatically raised.
We should think in general about the pros and cons of our overly connected society. This is an intersection of parenting skills, cellphone etiquette, IM policies for kids and the general boudaries we should create around technology, home and family. I am not sure what the right lines are and reasonable people can draw them in different places but we should put it on the agenda.
In any event, let us pray for the safety of all of our children, especially those battling terrorists wherever they are.
[Originally published on 23rd July 2006 by MIchael Eisenberg]