Its Potential to Educate for Peace
In this chapter, we are mainly interested in ways that use of the Internet can promote helpful, legitimate, and practical support to teachers, students, and others interested in education for peace, conflict resolution, and violence prevention. The World Wide Web, a powerful global network, has immense capacity to influence people (especially children) that can be compared to the influence of television. Research that has been done on television viewing shows that it can have positive and negative effects on behavior beginning in early childhood. It does not affect everyone in the same way–variables such as age, socioeconomic status, and identification with television characters all play significant roles in how content affects a child. The Internet and other interactive media are similar to television by way of underlying factors (such as observational learning, attitudes, and arousal) that influence behavior. Over the past several decades, some of the most profound changes in the way we live have come from the revolution in information technology (IT). A wide range of technologies has not only made it easier to communicate but also to send and utilize information. These devices have not stayed in the province of institutions or specialists but have found their way into common use. From cell phones and personal digital assistants to computers (just to touch on some of the most common of these technologies), they have changed the way ordinary people interact and behave. Their effects have been profound, as reflected in the speed with which these technologies have evolved and insinuated themselves into everyday life. Perhaps the most important of these technologies is the personal computer (PC). In itself, the rise of the PC was a dramatic event, allowing more people to apply the capabilities of the computer to small business, personal activity, and schoolwork. But in the past decade, other information technologies that utilize the PC, the most important of which are the World Wide Web and electronic mail (e-mail), have appeared and promise further large-scale uses.
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