Written By: - Date published: 11:12 pm, September 30th, 2018 - 52 comments
Categories: community democracy, democracy under attack, democratic participation, local body elections, police - Tags: communication, social interaction, social media, technology
Two articles featured on Stuff today that, at first sight, have very little in common.
The first one was entitled Social media making new police recruits ill-equipped for life on the beat.
… Millennial rookies were ill-equipped for encounters with criminals and drunk or drugged people as they entered police training.
The use of internet technology is thought to be one of the main reasons.
New police recruits who have grown up in the internet age, with social media, emails and comment sections, struggle with face-to-face confrontation on the beat …
It does not say anything about the fact this is a much wider problem that is not just affecting new police recruits but many others as well. To be able to read & interpret social cues such as body language, facial and microexpressions is largely an acquired skill that requires continuous practice & tuning in real life.
When multi-culturalism and globalism keep on banging on the front door the way to deal with these challenges is not to withdraw into our shells, crawl back under our rocks, and hide in & behind or devices. We enjoy ever-expanding virtual lives but our real experiential lives seem to be shrinking and we do not even seem to realise it!
The second piece was on online voting and called Councils warned electronic voting will not be secure.
Much of the discussion centres on security and the risks of electoral fraud. I am not qualified to discuss these aspects.*
One of the arguments for introducing online voting is that it might counter decreasing voter turnout at elections.
There was evidence that online voting increased voter turn-out, so it was “a balance”, Ko said.
Online-voting was not a “silver bullet” for declining levels of voter participation but Delbet hoped it might slow down that decline
If indeed “voter participation” is defined & counted as the number of people who return a vote online voting might help. But voting is a democratic right (and duty!) that is for the people, by the people, and about what the people want. By reducing voting to a simple action on an electronic device, anywhere you are, it merely reduces this the same level as ‘likes’ on social media and clicks on misleading headlines (click-bait) on SMS, for example. It does absolutely nothing to increase voter engagement with the democracy they live in. People tend to participate when they feel a sense of belonging and vice versa and I doubt that online voting enhances a feeling of belonging.
As I see it, we are slowly sliding towards a more technocratic democracy and society in which human-to-human interaction & communication is pushed into the background and taken over by human-to-device interaction. We are losing essential human social skills in the process and maybe this is inevitable to some degree but it should give us reason to pause and ponder.
*Please don’t comment on the security aspects of online voting. Either write your own post if you want to say something about that or take your comments to Open Mike. Thank you in advance.