How do we know what is real and what is made up?
Thanks to online communication capabilities, there is so much information available to us at the touch of a button. We are submerged in a virtual highway that connects us in an instant from our computers, our phones, and even our watches. But how much of what we are submersing ourselves in do we know is real and true?
As an Arrow of Light Webelos Scout in Cub Scouts, my son is working on his CyberChip. One of the requirements to achieve this required my son and his father to prepared two different types of sugar cookies. Only one of those cookies wasn’t made with sugar. It was salt.
The salt cookie represented everything online that is presented to us in a manner that makes us believe it is true, and tempts us to accept it at face value.
When my son gave his presentation to the other boys in his den, he didn’t tell them one cookie was made from salt. They ate the sugar cookie first, and upon being offered a second they all took it. After one bite of the salt cookie, though, they were all headed to the nearest trash to spit it out.
It looked like a sugar cookie, but it didn’t taste like one.
That salt cookie reminded me of all the times I’ve come online searching for answers. Sometimes it’s a recipe, or a tutorial, and sometimes I admit I’m seeking advice as a parent and a wife. And like that salt cookie, I’ve often discovered that tutorial came up a little short in the instructions, or that recipe didn’t come out the way it promised.
My son has one more requirement left to accomplish before he can earn his Cyber Chip. It’s to memorize the Internet Safety Pledge:
- I will think before I post.
- I will respect other people online.
- I will respect digital media ownership.
- I won’t meet face to face with anyone I meet in the digital world unless I have my parents’ permission.
- I will protect myself online.
The same can be transformed to our everyday lives.
There are a lot of salted messages out there waiting to deceive us. Unless you know the information you are given, what you see, and what you read comes from a trusted source – spit it out.
There are far better things for us to grow thirsty for.
Feature image credit: Lesley Parker via Flickr Creative Commons
Post image credit: Robert Pitkin via Flickr Creative Commons