My goal is inform and guide readers how to develop a healthy relationship with the so-called ‘virtual worlds’ in which we reside in today’s society. Among these worlds are wireless communications, interactive platforms, tsunamis of information, fictional simulated worlds - realities in which millions of people around the world co-exist simultaneously in their daily lives. I have included tools such as reflection, exercises / actions and resources to help you deal effectively with this ever-expanding issue.
The Internet and the cyber-connected worlds can be seen as open waters more than a closed controlled pool. In a pool, a lifeguard is often nearby and the area is controlled and contained. The Internet is not like swimming in a pool at all; it is more like diving into open water. Even with net tools, “net-nannies” and similar limit setting devices, it is easy to find links and lures to other areas of the Net, allowing unsuspecting leisure swimmers to be swept up by cyber waves into unknown and sometimes risky “waters.” There are many technological portals to this world, ranging from smart phones, cyber watches, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. The sometimes calm surface of the Internet is often linked to darker sites that are often just a click away. Some people are oblivious to the potential implications and dangers that exist in some patches of cyberspace.
Like shark-infested waters, there may be cyber scammers, predators and pornography snares. Some people become so anxious about these potential dangers that they avoid using the Net, which is not realistic in the 21st century. The key to navigating the Net is not to avoid it completely but to tread carefully. It is therefore important to learn how to have a healthy relationship with cyberspace by developing healthy “strokes” to keep afloat and prevent drowning in the cyber waves. This book will give you the knowledge, skills and attitudes to do that.
You might wonder if this book is for you. As I wrote this book I had specific target audiences in mind:
PARENTS: Raising children in the 21st century, surrounded and invaded on all sides by cyber tech, is not simple. The landscape of parenting has changed over the decades. There is still the need for concern with issues such as safety, nutrition and education. As if those concerns are not enough, today’s parents worry (as they should) about their children’s activities in the use of the newest technology. The reality is that many adults in our world have no idea how to develop their own healthy relationship with today’s high tech technology; their focus is to get whatever job or task completed without crashing their computer or zapping their mobile devices.
It is our responsibility to be role models to the next generation. In reality, many adults have similar or even more serious problems managing their screen time, quick communications, and general healthy boundaries than younger users. The rampant growth of cyber technology is influencing our family and community values. Parents can help motivate their children, assist in ways to foster independence, and ensure that the family has a common understanding of particular issues they wish to tackle. The key is for parents to become aware of the current state of affairs, educate themselves on key issues, and take proactive steps to help the entire family develop a healthy way of interacting with cyber worlds.
THE WHOLE FAMILY: Do not think that that only the young can develop unhealthy behaviours with cyber activities. You could be a senior who has just been handed a tablet device and are being bombarded by scam ads. You could be the son or daughter of that senior who needs to help educate your parent on this! You might be the youthful grandson or granddaughter who people worry is spending too much time on the computer – and need to show your family your use is healthy and educate them all on current cyber issues, netiquette, and more. The information here can also be used by entire families to read and reflect together to work as a unit in developing your own family values in interacting with the virtual and wireless worlds.
TEACHERS: The material in this book, although aimed at families, is also presented for discussion in educational institutions. Each section deals with a specific theme with reflective exercises that can be adapted to different learner groups. Also, it may raise questions of Internet use rules for various educational settings e.g. the reason why a school does or does not allow smartphone use during recess. What policy is there for using tablets/laptops/phones during meetings? I believe this book will help illuminate these issues and help promote discussions for teachers and parents for helping create healthy guidelines for the use of technology.
IN CASE YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE ABOVE: You do not need to be a parent or a teacher to apply many of the concepts to your own life to consider the nature and extent of your relationship between the physical and virtual worlds. We are all potentially vulnerable to many of the lures lurking in the depths of the cyber. The important thing is learning about what they are, reflecting on your own behaviours, and maintain a healthy dynamic balance in your life. This book is helpful for everyone that accesses various devices that allow connection to cyberspace.
Here you will find the table of contents and a few samples to peruse
Table of contents
INTRODUCTION: Dipping in the toe...
What is this book for?
WHERE does the work get done?
HOW will it help?
WHY did I write this book?
WHEN do you start?
REFLECTION ON THE WAVES: Personal connections to the cyberworld
The reflection on the Cyber Surface
Technology is here to stay
Take the quiz!
The world we live in today
Fear of technology advancement or real threat to society?
Interlude: The Waters of Cyberspace
WADING IN: How Important are your connections?
Let's talk about connection
Where do you stand with technology?
Where did the time go?
21st Century Dinner Pastiche
The reality of 21st-Century communication and our new virtual landscape
“Santa’s Cyber Health List”
Interlude: Riding Tidal Waves!
TSUNAMI! Information overload
Information is not always true
A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing
Where do you stand?
What’s the big deal?
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Talk About Internet Misuse”
Interlude: Tranquillity Under the Sea
A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT: Real impact of virtual worlds
Where are we heading?
Social and Ethical Dangers-Video Games
Sample Family Guidelines
Interlude: Deep Sea Dangers
CAPSIZED: When is “it” a problem? Is this an… “Addiction”?
What drives “Addictive” Behaviours?
Words and labels
What is addiction?
Interlude: Marine Scanning and Charting
BRAIN WAVES & MIND CURRENTS: Neurobiology and Mental Health
Waves of the grey
Currents of the mind
Interlude: Other Cyberswimming Safety Considerations
MIRAGE AT SEA: Simulation and games
Stereotypes and video games
The myth that Blowing things up is good for you
Physical consequences of gaming "addictions"
Video Game Ratings
Interlude: Swimming Techniques I
GATHERING SHELLS: Cyber shopping
Is it the spending?
The thrill of the win
Some possible motivations
Interlude: Swimming Techniques II
CLIFF DIVING: Gambling and the cyberworld
Alarming numbers are eye openers
Problems compounding problems
Are there such things as online gambling predictors?
Example: When Gambling, Gaming, Simulation and Apps Meet!
Where did all the youth gamblers go?
Interlude: Chlorine & Other Disinfectants
NAUTI-CAL STREAMS: Sex & pornography
By the numbers
Texting/Computer Lingo Cheat Sheet
Sadly, now commonplace: Sexting
Impact on body Image and relationships
Interlude: Get a Cyber Swimming Buddy
BEACH CYBER-SAND KICKERS: Cyber-Bullying & Cyber-Stalking
Another potential negative aspect of connectivity
Are you stalking me?
Don’t fall asleep on the job – maintain awareness!
Do you know a Cyber Bully?
The child who changed
It’s a new day entirely
Stop! Read the signs
Confronting Cyber Bullying
STOP SPYING ON ME MOM/DAD!!!!
Get a Cyber Swim Buddy
Interlude: Swimming Aids
SWIM SMART: Healthy relationships between humans & technology
Tips and tools for self-reflection
Basic limit setting guide
Setting virtual boundaries
Using cyber connections for getting physically healthy (sub section, not own section)
Take the Purge! Unsubscribe! (Sub section, not own section)
The Dynamic Balance
Interlude: Out to Sea
LIFEGUARDING: External help The ramifications of behavioural problems Involving family and/or significant others Professional help
EPILOGUE: Back to shore
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
THANK YOU FOR READING!
Now, this list may seem amusing to you, but some of you reading it are more than likely nodding your head in agreement, recalling such behaviours or actions on your own part or the part of your kids. We've all seen it, and we've all been around it. While the list is tongue-in-cheek, it contains some very valuable advice when it comes to living in the reality of our 21st century environment….”
“…I often watch what happens around the holiday season when parents are out shopping for their kids. Times have changed, and the games and toys kids want today are a far cry from what many of us grew up with. Some just want to get their parents’ iTunes™ password for their gift!
I've come up with a list that I'd like to share with you. It's called:
In support of the book, there are a few pages to help create discussion and supply supplementary resources over time.
As other social media and resources develop, their links will be posted on this and supporting websites. e.g. Youtube videos etc.