This post is a response to these two posts:
I’ll get right to the point. I hate that Facebook is replacing the larger internet in most people’s lives.
The internet is an incredible place. Huge innovation, shared technology, community, design, art, typography, video, interactive technology, information preservation, the list goes on. Facebook is a pretty poor example of all of these things, with the exception (perhaps) of community. But even that’s up for grabs. My brother in law said it well when he said “I feel like Facebook is designed for me to go judge people.” Healthy community? Maybe. Maybe not.
For years, the youth culture was driving the innovation, the wild west frontier of the internet. But now a lot of kids don’t even really know how to go to other websites besides Facebook. It seems to me that the youth culture in which I grew up, creativity and artistry of all kinds were encouraged and praised, and the internet was a huge part of that. But at some point our culture has stopped taking joy in the potential of kids’ creativity. It’s no longer encouraged. In fact, quite the opposite.
Even art in schools like music programs are primarily oriented around kids learning to recite pre-written music and follow complex marching formations. It seems like now our culture only praises children for being “good,” following the “rules,” regurgitating data, obeying orders, and the like. Not that any of those things are bad in and of themselves. In fact, they’re often necessary in order to progress to creation. But I feel like we aren’t truly teaching our kids to be creative. We’re teaching them to take standardized tests so that we can grade their performance and shuffle them off to a school or program that suits their output quality.
I see very little encouragement for kids to be truly creative, and I see a whole lot of walled gardens like Facebook that make our kids consumers, not creators. I see a whole generation of kids being herded into consumerism, with their fire of creativity, joy, and drive to challenge the status quo all but dowsed in busyness and controls adults put on them.
Creativity challenges everything. It’s dangerous. When youth are creative, most adults respond with fear. Probably because it reduces their control, but more so because it challenges their comfort. Our God is a creator. He put his image in us. When the youth culture falls in love with Jesus, and gets creative, you better believe it gets dangerous and uncomfortable.
Facebook is just a symptom of a larger problem. And the internet is a symbol of a greater frontier.
How can we encourage, teach, and exhort sanctified creativity in our kids? And maybe more importantly, are we willing to deal with the consequences if we do?