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it's out there

QOD --->

it's out there

There are some days I sit in front of the computer for hours, doing nothing but blogging, talking on AIM, playing mind-numbing games and looking at porn.

Did I say porn? I meant pictures of bunnies and kittens.

Do you ever feel like you take the internet for granted? Let's face it, the net is like a lover to most of us. A life partner, an entity that is part of us, that we can't live without. So to take it for granted would just seem par for the course, no? Don't you ever sit there, looking at another blog, or another flash cartoon and wonder what else there is out there? The vast sources of information that lie right at our fingertips...if only we could stop downloading music long enough to actually look at the depth of what's before us.

I was watching Call for Help on TechTV the other night, and Chris's guest was Diane Provo, an expert in the field of learning disablities in children. The amount of resources and information that is available on the internet to parents of learning disabled children is astounding.

If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you know that Natalie has learning issues. She was in special ed from pre-school until she was mainstreamed in fourth grade. Getting the help I needed for her, and finding the resources to get me that help, was a small war I waged daily. I spent hours in libraries, leafing through pamphlets and archaic books and medical journals that meant nothing to me. I didn't know how to reach other parents with similar problems, how to fight the school system, how to help my daughter at home, on my own. It was 1993. I had no computer, let alone the internet.

If I had the resources then that are available to people now, our struggle would have been less of battle than it was. In an instant, I would have been able to look up facts on ADD and other learning issues. I would have been able to find out more about Ritalin and learning styles and things to do at home to improve your child's attention span. I would have known that most of the doctors were full of crap and that 3 out of 4 diagnoses were wrong. The battle may still have been there, but it wouldn't have been as long and I would have been armed.

When I decided that she didn't need medication at all, what she needed was someone (namely me) to work with her at home to get those extra things she couldn't get in school, I had to use every ounce of my energy and every spare minute of my time finding ways to make that happen. It was time consuming and exhausting and sometimes very futile.

If the internet was then what it is now, I would simply have had to do a search and in minutes, I would have worksheets and printouts and educational games. I would be able to email experts and find other parents in my area with the same issues.

My point? It's out there. Any piece of information you could possibly need about any subject is right in front of you. Having a problem you don't know how to handle? There are probably a million people just like you and in about twenty seconds after punching in a few keywords on Google, you will find resources and a support group to help you. From the smallest piece of information (where have I seen that actor before?) to the most complicated questions, it's all right here.

It's amazing when you think about it. Some day are kids our going to be amazed that we didn't have all this when we were younger. We did live without it at some point, which makes me appreciate it all the more.

I think that's one of the reasons I started the banned books project; to give back a little, to offer something useful to someone else who may be out there doing a project and is looking for resources. It may not be the answer to the questions of life or quantum physics or life saving information, but I just felt the need to do something useful with my space here.

Find something useful to do with the internet today. Something important. Look up the words to an old poem you can't remember anymore. Learn how to change the oil in your car. Learn about cancer prevention. Find some counseling for a problem. Just one thing, each day, just so your internet connection doesn't threaten to leave you one day because you are taking advantage of it. You know how neglected lovers can be.

Comments

i came from a school where sex ed was ignored and girls were taught to wait because it always hurt for girls (and you bled) and boys were told that they couldn't control themselves better than the stray dogs outside could. after getting hooked up to the internet, i took control of my own damned health and learned about most every STI and condition and saw actual pictures of anatomy until i was convinced that i did have the info i needed.

then i kept learning more.

i honestly don't think i could be as well-informed today regarding my sexual health without the internet. books and pamphlets have to be published. you're bound to the politics of the publishing house. the net, while not always as reliable, was a place that i could get a million different opinions and a million different factoids and then decide on my own which had merit.

You are so right, but there is more. With the progresive commercialisation of the net, finding useful information from sites which aren`t simply trying to sell something is becoming more difficult. Thank god for google. The worry is that such search engines may be bought by corporations like msn, who charge to even consider indexing sites in their database. This is why blogs are so important.. especially when related blogs are linked together. I for one have found sites linked from blogs that I never would have otherwise found, and probably wouldn't have even thought to look for.
Oh yes... all those bunnies... drool ;-)

Google's the first thing I go to whenever I'm curious about pretty much ANYTHING. A few years ago, when my dad first got sick with the illness that ended up killing him, I looked up all sorts of info on it, printed a bunch of stuff out, and mailed it to him. In about half an hour of web research, I was able to find more information than any of his doctors had given him. The last line of the last letter he ever sent me said, "God bless the Internet!" Kinda illustrates what you're talking about, I think.

Eventhough I didn't have the internet when I was a "wee lad" I was infected by the incurable disease known as Nintendo-itis. Damn you Mario.