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Living with my self-enforced Internet ban for three days and abstaining from Google, got me thinking about the way we access our information in this day and age.

When I was growing up there was no Google, or Wiki we had to literally look it up. We had to rely on books, dictionaries, libraries and encyclopaedias. I still wonder how we got all the information we needed for assignments and schoolwork – but we did.

Nowadays fact is so accessible. If we need information we just Google it. If I was to talk about Gen Y and details about this generation, I would just go to Wiki and cut and paste. It is very handy to have all this information at our fingertips, and I am not advocating boycotting Google or Internet searches… but is everything we are reading true?

A colleague was giving a presentation, after doing a Google image search for absolute stability this is the image he was given.

Ok, so this guy was a professor and talked about the subject – but nevertheless he is not an image of absolute stability – you have to be careful.

I remember as a child having Charlie Brown encyclopaedias. They were cartoon strips and drawings interspaced with text and information. There was fifteen in the series and the titles ranged from: What We Wear, People Around The World, to All kinds of Animals from Fish to Frogs.

I can remember poring through them as a child. It wasn’t like I was studying. I wanted to read the cartoons. I wanted to see the pictures and at the same time I was learning. The Charlie Brown’s were telling me about things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn about.

There is that old saying ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ and whilst Google and the like is great for looking up things you want to find information on –what about taking you into a world you never knew existed?

My partner has a whole collection of Australian Geographic magazines that he tells me he loved looking through when he was younger. Who knows, maybe this is where he found his eye for design, love for photography or discovered a desire for travel and exploration.

I am lucky that Mum, in her wisdom, kept the Charlie Brown’s – even when we were teenagers and protested ever having a use for them. I decided to take them home. I have given them and the Australian Geographic’s a place in our house – hoping to pass them on to my children. Some things may date, but things like – how a light bulb works,  or who was the first person on the moon, will not.

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Books like these are irreplaceable. They teach children to learn, and expand little people’s minds. I wonder what would happen if I Googled that?

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