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Our ever-changing technology can be a double-edged sword

Some people love it and some people hate it. Others just go with the flow as best they can. No matter what you think about technology, it has a major affect on your life.

Some people love it and some people hate it. Others just go with the flow as best they can. No matter what you think about technology, it has a major affect on your life.

Chips continue to shrink, bandwidth continues to grow and innovations and advances in network infrastructure and software development perpetually change the way we work and live.

There is no end in sight to the advancements, but it is clear that technology needs to be continually tweaked because it is not being embraced in some instances and in other instances it is causing irrefutable harm. This is the digital paradox that we all need to understand or at least attempt to monitor.

The tragedy of the Amanda Todd suicide only serves to remind us that certain online platforms have the potential to harm our youth.

There was once a time where bullying was confined to the schoolyard and playing field and home was a place of safety and security. Not any more.

Now, mobile technology and the reach of the Internet push potential risk into the household and the WIFI and G3 streets of our neighbourhoods 24/7.

Parents and educators can only do so much to insulate children at risk and we can only give the best advice possible and hover around our children to recognize any potential danger signs.

When teens are naturally seeking independence they are not always as approachable as they once were. Moving away from parents is about as natural as learning to walk and it is often difficult for adults to offer advice, especially when some may simply be unaware of platforms where our kids are socializing.

We should hope that a recent private members bill in Ottawa gets some traction and gives cause for the federal government to get involved to offer some sort of protection through the CRTC for our children.

In another and indeed less tragic example of our relationship with technology is the ongoing debate around bridges, tolls, transit and traffic.

Our governments are spending billions of dollars to ease commuter bottlenecks and lessen commute times throughout Metro Vancouver and elsewhere.

In this instance it seems that technology could be leveraged so that flextime and telecommuting could be a very real and viable option for many workers across many job functions. If you are in the restaurant or retail business, this is not a viable option.

However, if you are involved in research, data entry or anything that involves writing or collaborating with peer office workers or clients, you should be at home a couple of days a week, which would take millions of mostly single-occupant vehicle trips off our roads.

Why, after all these years, hasn't government stepped up to offer tax incentives to employers rather than rely on old school pavement policy?

The benefits of telecommuting are well known and you would think that with our region's reputation as a clean and healthy place to live, work and play that flex time initiatives would be a no-brainer alternative to the norm for governors to diligently consider.

New housing projects could ensure that bandwidth hubs and office services could be integrated into any commercial offerings. Think Kinkos meets Starbucks.

The promise of further advancements in technology need, in some instances, to be reined in and more effectively utilized in others.