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Digital Communication and the Human Touch

We know that the internet alone has saved countless babies because of the availability of incredible 4-D ultrasound images like those presented in ALL’s Baby Steps video. We also know that the web has guided expectant mothers to pro-life centers where they can be helped to have their babies. Computers can make sound education readily available to those looking for the truth about contraception, abortion and euthanasia. But a great deal of misinformation is also available online, including sexual images and messages that rob young people of sensibilities they may not have ever realized they had.

Everybody has to put their wares online. Among the most recent is the ludicrous sex education program currently proposed for Helena, Montana classrooms (p.45). Covering grades K through 12, the program “includes teaching first graders that people can be attracted to the same gender. In second grade students are instructed to avoid gay slurs and by the time students turn 10 years old they are taught about various types of intercourse.” In our opinion, this is a “sex course.” But the details are there on the internet for anyone to see.

This is what concerns me about our digital age. Too much information can cause serious consequences while, at the same time, removing people of all ages from the real world and inviting them to spend every waking moment digitally interacting. Is that really healthy for people?

Today, having a direct conversation with someone who is carrying an iPhone or Blackberry is sometimes impossible unless you ask him to put his gismo away, thus running the risk of committing a cyber offense. I’ve even seen couples who go out to dinner and spend most of their time together texting or talking—to someone else.

Social graces are out the window, human interaction is slowly become archaic and, sadly, childhood innocence is not far behind. The more we have grown dependent upon electronic outreach, the less we have become aware of what is happening to lives and souls even in our own families.

So the question is, what should be done about this? In my opinion, we have a tremendous opportunity in today’s digital environment to do so much good. But, we have to remember that there will never be a replacement for a hug, a smile or an invitation to sit and talk. There will never be a better way to affirm children than by personally guiding their education, their free time and their interests. To do that, of course, one must be totally involved at every level with them.

What we humans need more than ever is time. Each of us must take the time to be an individual whose personal personhood is enhanced by communicating with other human beings eyeball to eyeball, not keyboard to keyboard. While the digital era can be used by each of us to accomplish wonderful things, we must never forget that social networking starts with individual persons interacting one-on-one.

Individual attention and the human touch could be the key—the key to stopping the smutty program in Montana, the key to helping the next expectant mother choose life or the key to gently encouraging one’s child to kick a ball around instead of sitting in the family room playing on the Wii

It’s certainly worth a try.