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February 02, 2016

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I am not a parent. I should offer that disclaimer right up front. That said, I'll just be over here setting up the marching band and cheerleaders in honour of your decision on this!

Go ahead and call me a dinosaur if you wish (heaven knows you won't be the first and probably not the last) but I firmly and irrevocably believe that in order for younger humans to effectively, successfully learn to interact with other humans - regardless of gender - they must spend more time face-to-face than other ways.

The rage by younger people to interact almost exclusively online is creating all sorts of problems that are far less likely to happen in person.

Bullying is a perfect example. In the olden days when I was a kid, being a bully involved significant risk. You had to be big enough or strong enough to overwhelm the target. You also had to have the balls to do rotten stuff to another person up close and personal and usually in front of witnesses, which is tougher that it sounds unless you are raised by wolves. Not only that but you had to have a level of support and a big enough group of minions to back you. While it was still awful, there was less of it because it WAS a risk to the bully.

Now,to be a bully all you need are two working thumbs and an Internet connection. Ane without having to look the person you are savaging in the face, but rather hiding behind a keyboard, any reflection of your own lack of humanity becomes irrelevant - it doesn't FEEL so bad when all you are being vicious to is a screen name, right?!

Anyway, I say bravo to you for that decision!!

Thanks, Kristen. We dinosaurs do have to stick together. (Not sticking together--that's probably what happened to the original dinosaurs.)

As someone who was bullied in person--and who did a little bullying--I can tell you, it was a VIVID and painful and awful experience, rough on the souls of everyone involved. If nasty texting doesn't disturb the texter as much as the textee ... well then yeah, that's another reason to go analog.

I'm with you: emoji are no match for facial expressions. Teenage boys also must learn courage and, as the channers who doxx women asserting their right to express opinions online demonstrate, boys who aren't forced to confront the amazing complexity of real people IRL grow into men who can't do so either.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/01/cops-swarm-rep-katherine-clark-melrose-home-after-apparent-hoax/yqEpcpWmKtN6bOOAj8FZXJ/story.html?event=event25

I was chatting with a grade school teacher who bemoaned his students' erosion in social skills because they were communicating online instead of face-to-face. He could see that, at that early age, they were already in trouble.

The worst part: that was 12-13 years ago (before I left NY), and the kids were using "instant messaging" on their desktops. Smartphones were still jut a gleam in some developers' eyes.

It's safe to say that it hasn't gotten any better.

(FWIW, like most people, I love all the new technologies. But they're a two-edged sword... and too many parents are so clueless that they don't see the handwriting on the wall.)

Stand your ground, David.

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