Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning:

I was chatting to a group of young adults about what they call 'the old days' and I call my past.

They couldn't grasp how I used to meet up with friends without a mobile phone. 'Well' I said in a patronising, fatherlike voice I save for such occasions, 'Each time we meet, before we leave, we fix the time and place of the next gathering and then go there at that time.'

They all looked gobsmacked. How awkward. What if you are late? They could agree to meet in Dundee on Saturday, tweak the arrangements right up to the last moment and agree a precise meeting place once there. It's a luxury.

I showed them a picture of the first office I ever worked in. A busy insurance company. On each desk just a phone and a load of files. No computers, yet.

If I was to have a word now with my twenty year old self the array of communication devices in this studio would be utterly baffling as Twitter feeds, autocues, Facebook updates, texts, calls and live material are seamlessly linked. Well, usually.

The young me understood bullying, had even suffered a bit of it, but would not have a clue what I was talking about if I mentioned cyber-bullying.

We can end up thinking that this is a very 21st century problem needing a very 21st century solution. It isn't and doesn't. All it needs is the age-old rule to treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. So old, it's in the Bible.

Online is just another place where people hang out. The good and the evil. There, as anywhere else, people should be respected not bullied.

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