Living on the Internet: A Necessary Educational Reflection to Humanize Digital Natives

Living on the Internet: A Necessary Educational Reflection to Humanize Digital Natives

The presence of the internet in the current world is one of the key aspects that define our daily lives. To understand the situation and the repercussions of the digital world that surrounds us the book Living on the Internet ( Vivir en internet published by Sintesis ) is particularly helpful as much for parents as for teachers. This book gives an interesting vision about the advantages and difficulties of the internet as part of the educational process, setting forth as its main idea the necessity of an education centered on an authentic humanistic orientation. Its authors are professors Juan Luis Fuentes (Complutense University of Madrid), Francisco Esteban (University of Barcelona), and Carmen Caro (International University of la Rioja), who claim that “the technologies of information and communication (TIC) have changed our lives” and therefore we live at a time full of new things in which “there is no turning back”.

A recognition regarding the importance of living with the TIC and about how to pay attention to the dangers involved

The work is composed of five chapters that cover subjects such as the meaning of living in the TIC, positive and hopeful subjects of the Internet as well as risks and threats that adolescents could face. In this book the authors explain the processes of change and the bases of the current problems in relation to the use of the internet.

Specifically, in the first chapter a reflection about subjects of interest that describe the daily life of young people on the Internet and social networks is realized. The subjects discussed deal with addiction to the Internet, the notion of privacy related to the loss of private life on a grand scale as well as the relationship between the Internet and the processes of teaching and learning and how the Internet can contribute, or not, to academic advancement

The second chapter gathers the results of a study done on a national level with adolescents of different regions in Spain by the research group “The educational task as action” of the International University of La Rioja during the academic year of 2012/2013. The results obtained are useful for knowing the reality of the situation and for use in the design and management of concrete actions concerning the education of young people.

The third chapter analyses the advantages of living on the Internet in which the authors claim that, in relation to access to the web and academic advancement, one can take note of a series of questions that indicate optimism since “our young people still maintain a certain level of responsibility and commitment on the subject”. The message that is sent is that the web, in addition to making communication easier, grants them a new dimension and that therefore one must make responsible use of the media and not reject them.

In the last part of the book Fuentes, Esteban and Caro advocate as well a realistic analysis and reflect on the disadvantages of living on the Internet, taking as a reference the most worrisome data of the study but without falling into despair, since they affirm that the web can also present a medium full of opportunities and of good practices capable of bringing one toward an optimum personal development.

Opportunities and challenges of an education directed toward living with the Internet

The book faithfully reflects how the web is changing the lives of our young people and, as its authors sustain, is showing us paths that previous generations could not imagine existing and, also, “The Internet has come to form an essential part of the educational mission” within this process in which “its new challenges and uses are going to multiply and grow in many ways”. It is interesting the message that is sent concerning the fact that both families and educators should promote the transition of the new generations for these new ways of living, standing up for the necessity of realizing a deep discernment to see whether it is good.

The book Living on the Internet presents essential principles and criteria for a human education, a humanistic one, in the use of the Internet in its different manifestations (social networks, information, free time, education). The book goes to the root of the problems, such as the question of veracity or those relating to security on the web.

The book is written from a knowledge of technology and its uses, and from a reflection on them, with realism, and therefore without appealing to fear but rather inviting the reader to think and learn to delve into the technological world. The authors do not limit themselves to the verification of the challenges and problems faced by all with the use of the new technologies of communication, but rather they put them in relation with the virtues associated with them and, therefore, showing paths for their humanization.

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