CNET : Internet : Regional Dispatches
Learning to swim in the information sea

The sad fact is the Internet is really the best thing since sliced bread. It has leveled the playing field, giving everyone of us the opportunity to test and realize our potential. But to find out what can be done through the Net, our kids need to experience the entire process in discovering the Net before trying something more serious.

So as the Internet continues to empower kids elsewhere in the world, we will always be contriving to catch up. We will argue about how much time our kids spend in front of the PC monitor and the rising phone bills that we parents have to bear as a consequence.

Our view of the Net remains myopic as we continue to delude ourselves that the Internet is a new "toy" that must be kept away from our children. We live in the delusion that information is a beast that comes with the label "to be handled by adults only". Little wonder that our kids are less than enthusiastic about the Internet.

We warned our young audience: "You can run from computers, you can avoid them... but you cannot avoid information. Information is destined to overwhelm you."

The point is to get on with the Net. It is too large to ignore. The sooner we are familiar with that "beast", the better we will understand it. Hopefully, that understanding will someday translate into wisdom.

For now, that wisdom is sorely lacking. Many parents continue to believe that even trickling bits of information to youngsters will do more harm than good. While kids elsewhere are agile swimmers in the current of the information sea, exploring its murky bottom and setting up hyperlinked islands of their own design on the surface, we sit back as if to say: "You don't need to know how to swim in order to live in this wired world".

Disregarding the Net is not only willful, our children may become the next casualty and join the league of roadkills littering the information superhighway.

Dispatch from Malaysia

Here's a nation that has built a first-world infrastructure. But can the country truly lead its people down the Yellow Brick Road to the smart city of tomorrow? Our Dispatch from Malaysia taps into the collective mindshare.

Check out previous dispatches from Malaysia:

Surfing on the Sulu

High-tech utopia or myopia?


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