I AM a child of the internet revolution: in my time, racism knows no boundaries, violence has intensified across online platforms, and hatred has exacerbated among the majority against the minority. This seems to be a unified trait among numerous nations around the world: India to its Muslims; Myanmar to the Rohingya; the USA to its Muslims; Kim to his North Korean people. The list goes on and on.
While it is easy to point out all the flaws that instant, long-range communication has posed to us, we must not forget all the good that it has accomplished: the internet has brought us closer together – more and more people are being educated on topics that they could have never known about before: ranging from their own country’s laws and fiscal policies to the enigma of black holes and the deep universe. In other words, the internet has provided us with a surplus of information in which we can enlighten our minds.
In which we can enhance self-education.
The problem, however, is that most people in contemporary society would rather entertain themselves with short bursts of pleasure. To elucidate this point, according to TechCrunch, people today watch over “One billion hours of YouTube per day.” Instead of taking advantage of this rich resource that was never available throughout human history people would slave away in small time pleasures.
With the internet, we can abolish traditional hierarchies of knowledge, status, and power. By educating themselves on online course platforms, like edX (www.edx.org), Coursera (www.coursera.org), and Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), people can access lectures from any field of study, ranging from medicine to computer science, to political science, from top academics in top institutions in the world like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. All the videos are free to watch, with coursework to aid learning. Furthermore, with the completion of these courses, one can receive a professional certificate to add to their resume and job profile.
Thus, with the advent of these mechanisms, people can theoretically become educated on any field and rise up their corporate/job ladder without having to pay a single peso for formal higher education. The point of these systems is to give education to those that could not otherwise afford it. To elevate the beggar to a higher and better life. To eliminate and level the social hierarchy.
There is a popular saying that “knowledge is power.” With the internet, any person in the world with internet access can have knowledge. Information is free. Thus, power is free. It is available to us all. Gone are the days that paying for knowledge was what secured a better life. In my generation the world has started to level the field. Gradually, status and power will become concepts of the past. The only thing that differentiates people now is motivation.
It is even more important now than ever for people to educate their children on the resources available to them. If you want your child to succeed and thrive in the 21st century, you must expose him or her to these online educational platforms. You must enrich their minds with the free knowledge of the 21st century. Furthermore, you yourself must become acquainted with these new mechanisms. With the surge of new information comes a new responsibility: you cannot sit by in ignorance. You have to keep up with the tide.
Otherwise, you will drown. Your skills will become arbitrary and other more motivated people will replace your occupation.
Thus, stop watching that extra YouTube video. Monitor your child’s internet consumption. Push him or her to educational content. Make them pursue academic fields on these online platforms. More importantly, make sure you make an effort as well to pursue these new platforms. Educate yourself in this evolving world. Keep up with the current of new information.
And you and your children will thrive.