Persuasion might just be the vessel which contains the majority of the Internet applications so popular in today’s world.  It seems nothing else has such sway over the mind-set of people world-wide.  I am amazed at how quickly a fad or a myth can develop and spread via the Internet!  It truly shows us the existence of the “J-curve” rather than the “norm curve” in today’s statistics.

    People don’t appear to look at these applications in this manner.  For instance, it would blow people’s minds to pay someone to expound to them about various and sundry products all day long.  Yet, for every half-hour of TV content, we subject ourselves to about ten minutes of advertising.  The product developers have shortened the ads so many more can be placed within the allotted time.  My husband and I laugh at the pre-program announcement before “The Orville” weekly show: “…there will be a limited number of commercials.”  So, the time involved may be less, but the placement means every two to three minutes of show we must stop the story and watch commercials.

    I realize that all the Internet ads have a “close” hot spot, but the message appears and is part of our awareness before we can close it.  Teachers must be “so” careful to guard any Internet presentation they may desire to show students.  Often, it just isn’t worth the effort to use Internet content, no matter how good it may be.

    But I am more alarmed at the persuasiveness of Internet content to follow fads, trends, jokes, and dangerous dares.  Even my first graders come to school talking about scenes with chainsaw murderers, zombies, mine craft figures, etc.  I’ve also seen the smart marketing and remarketing of toys via the Internet.  Thus, we have lived through three cycles of toys…the latest of which are the bay blades.  Children whose parents do not have the funds or the desire for their children to have these “must have” toys become quite envious of others and resentful of the “lot” of their lives.  In my opinion, the Internet is a master of the “Bandwagon” propaganda technique.

    While many people might laugh at this rant of mine, others may be as concerned as I am about the stupid “look at what I did…can you do it, too?” syndrome.  The latest concerns of mine are the dare to eat vegetables along with the plastic wrapping in which they are sold; and the throwing cheese slices in the faces of babies!  I’ve always taught students that practical jokes usually escalate until someone gets hurt.  Now it seems, it doesn’t matter as long as there are a lot of “likes” and it makes people laugh.  I am encouraged that Diane Sawyer has done a special about screen time.  I didn’t get to watch it, but I will hope to learn of its content.  

    I do have a glimmer of hope that we will soon be able to break students from this screen addiction.  It has been found that the light in the screens does cause wrinkles to develop in women.  I think that worry will cause some to rethink their screen time…then again, they just might find a quick fix for that on the Internet!     Kay