A fast-paced, elec­tronic age

Sackville Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

here’s deadly irony in two oth­er­wise un­re­lated events in past days in the Mar­itimes. In a whim­si­cal cer­e­mony at a Hal­i­fax church last Sun­day, the pas­tor blessed elec­tronic gadgets of parish­ioners. Items such as cell­phones, lap­tops and GPS units were held up as the min­is­ter of­fered the bless­ing.

It was a twist on an old English tra­di­tion called Plough Mon­day in which farm­ers would drag tools to the church’s door to re­ceive a bless­ing for a good har­vest.

On the same week­end, trag­i­cally, a young man lost his life in a traf­fic crash in New Brunswick when the ve­hi­cle he was driv­ing hit a rock wall. Po­lice be­lieve he was tex­ting on his cell­phone when this oc­curred.

The bless­ing is a light-hearted il­lus­tra­tion of just how in­dis­pens­able these ar­ti­cles are for peo­ple in ev­ery­day life - to the point of com­pul­sion. It’s dif­fi­cult not to an­swer a mes­sage, or at least check it. In some cases, it can be tempt­ing to re­spond im­me­di­ately, even when that might be haz­ardous.

A num­ber of prov­inces - in­clud­ing neigh­bour­ing Nova Sco­tia - have laws in place re­gard­ing cell­phone use by peo­ple driv­ing au­to­mo­biles. The laws are there for a good rea­son, but many ques­tion whether they go far enough. While it’s il­le­gal for a driver to talk on a hand-held phone, the law doesn’t tar­get other elec­tronic items.

We would hope com­mon sense would be the de­cid­ing fac­tor, but un­for­tu­nately in some cases it isn’t.

And on still an­other some­what re­lated topic: uni­ver­si­ties in Canada are of­fer­ing work­shops, sem­i­nars and tip­sheets on eti­quette for so­cial me­dia, such as Face­book, to new stu­dents. It’s frosh week, a time to get to know new peo­ple and the cam­pus - and have some fun. But these uni­ver­sity tips are a re­minder that an in­fa­mous photo can live on the In­ter­net in­def­i­nitely. So can an ill-con­sid­ered com­ment. One uni­ver­sity de­scribes such post­ings as a “dig­i­tal tat­too.”

We live in a dif­fer­ent, very elec­tronic age. Only if ju­di­cious con­sid­er­a­tion keeps pace with it is it re­ally to the in­di­vid­ual’s ben­e­fit.

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