Burriss: Using your computer

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How many of you complain about your spouse spending too much time using the microwave oven? Or, how many times have you said, "I think I'll go in the kitchen and use the sink?" Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? After all, these are simply tools we use to do something else.

Well, I'm still hearing parents, and spouses, tell me how they wish their children and partners weren't spending so much time using another tool, the computer. As if people are sitting down in front of the monitor and just spending hours watching the screen saver cycle through.

But we don't use computers, or the Internet, just by themselves; we use them for something. So the issue here is not how much time people are spending on a computer or on the Internet, but what are they doing there. Which also means parents need to get involved with their children's computer and Internet usage. "Parental involvement": what a concept.

Would parents complain if their kids were logging onto math and science sites just for fun? Of course not. But what if the kids were doing the same thing and ignoring family and friends? Then obviously there would be a problem.

We need to remember that people can spend too much time on anything, to the detriment of school, family and friends. Too much time watching television, too much time working on a stamp collection, too much time playing golf.

Ever since the personal computer came along some people have treated it as a device unto itself. But like so many other things, what they are used for determines how bad or good they can be. Just like any other tool we use it for something. As I've often heard, it's not enough to simply be good. You have to be good for something.

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Larry Burris
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