In the wake of new rulings and more recent legal conundrums, I feel the need to put a disclaimer out for the internet as a whole: not everything on the Internet is gospel truth. As I have perused my Facebook feed this morning, I read several articles that had me chuckling… for the wrong reasons.
Critical thought seems to be lacking in America today, especially in the wide world of the Internet. I am not saying that no one applies critical thinking to their article choices, but I the articles I run across from all sides of varying debates tend to be on the shallow, reactionary, sourceless side of the academic scale.
Just a few thoughts to help you and your family find good sources.
Who is the author/speaker? If we want to hear about a particular subject, we tend to ask an expert who has spent years studying the topic, or one who has years of practical experience. Answers may vary, but we tend to trust someone speaking to their expertise or experience. Some bloggers or article writers choose to write outside their experience and may not have all of the information relevant to the discussion.
Where are the sources? In high school and college we were drilled on making sure we used reputable sources when speaking or writing on a topic. We had our list of ten good sources to back up our arguments or we were counted off tremendously. Why do we let this go for internet articles? Where did the article get its information? Are there references, witnesses, or other indications that this person has fact-checked their argument?
How does the person react to the other side of the argument? Insults tend to be the last resort of a desperate mind. If an author/speaker is relying on emotional attacks, the article in question may not have enough information. Now, bloggers tend to write emotional responses, because that’s what blogs are for the most part, public journals/diaries.
What website hosts the article?
The only reason I write this is because I see articles and comments on occasion that tend toward the reactionary emotional response because of a lack of information to back up an argument. Debate is, in my opinion, a wonderful tool for developing and strengthening our beliefs. Shouting into the void tends to be less productive on the whole, however.
A great example for this would be Jesus. In every debate he was drawn into, he listened first, and responded second. He often responded lovingly, kindly and often with a question that disarmed the opponent – who probably wasn’t expecting him to listen quite so closely. He also practiced his words of, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Anonymity online is no excuse to set aside Jesus’ example.
Children need to see their parents conducting themselves with grace online so that they learn to show that same grace to others when they begin to traverse, with your guidance, the wonderful world of the Internet.