Internet – It’s Today’s Rock and Roll. Part 1

Every once in a while, your editor refuses to print an article. I wrote the following article in May 1995 for one of my columns. I was angry, in a bad mood — I had just finished yet another “isn’t the Internet full of dirty pictures” with one of those brain dead reporters who find it necessary to hype the sensational aspects of the Internet. I was frustrated, and in a hurry, banged out my anger at the keyboard. My editor wouldn’t run it. It’s a lousy column — you can tell I was in a rush — but my sentiments were there. I later incorporated many parts of it into the “Fraud and Dishonesty” chapter of our 1996 edition of our Canadian Internet Handbook — which outlines my thoughts on the qualities to be found in some media reporting about the Internet.

Watching all the latest goings-on, I’ve come to realize that the Internet is today’s generation gap, because of the huge difference in attitudes between the older and younger generations towards the network.

Recently, we’ve watched many old people in the “establishment” (people like myself — those over 35) call for a “clampdown” on the Internet. Examples abound — the media scrambles on a regular basis to report on what seems to be the “Internet freakout issue” of the week. “Pack journalism,”I call it – the national media writes frantically about “porn on the Internet”, and once it has hyped that issue to death, attacks the issue of “bomb information on the ‘Net!” only to frantically report on another expose the next week. Yet, what is obvious with all of this reporting is that in many cases, those writing the articles have never even ventured near the Internet. (Even this newspaper suffers from lousy ‘Net reporting at times — witness the silly article of a month ago about ‘porn on the ‘Net…..)

Elsewhere in Canada, we see the older generation — many of whom have never sat down at a keyboard to travel the global Internet — call for its censorship. Middle aged politicians, who have not even spent a minute to take a look at the World Wide Web, stand up in the House of Commons and issue grandiose “calls for action” involving “control” of the Internet. National committees and associations — many of whose representatives wouldn’t know a USENET newsgroup if they stumbled over it — react with horror to the latest Internet outrage. Naive spokesman with an amazing technical ignorance state that we need some type of “CB radio style etiquette” to deal with the Internet.

Quite frankly, we have an entire generation condemning a system that they actually know very little about.

Want a good understanding of the generation gap? Just sign on to the ‘Net each time these “old folks” rant about the Internet — and watch the reaction. Young people — people who actually use the Internet day by day, and who live within its unique culture, and understand its technical foundation — react with complete and utter disdain to these calls for “censorship” and “control.” They react with disgust to the opportunistic statements by politicians. They become disillusioned by the ignorance of the older generation about the ‘Net. They lose faith in the ability of this generation to even comprehend what the ‘Net is all about.

Our internet store is a site where you can quickly, easily buy international calling cards online. You may make long distance phone calls to every country, region to the parents, friends or partners.

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