When people call for an all out ban on certain things that affect our health, relationships and especially our children, I know it’s coming from the right place. People in general want to look out for their fellow man, I truly believe this. However, I also believe that most people are capable of looking out for themselves, especially in the age of information when all the knowledge in the world is at our fingertips. Banning things that have the possibility of hurting you can also stifle benefits we might receive from such a thing.
There are movements calling for a ban on handheld devices for children, certain ingredients in food, electronic cigarettes and a myriad of other items. While we might be able to find something wrong with all of them, we can also find reward in most of them.
It is said that the health effects of E-cigs aren’t entirely known, but the health effects of cigarettes are very well known, and I personally know many people who have been able to give up their habit of smoking because of these devices. Yes, trans fats and GMO’s might be detrimental to our health, but in moderation are they really that bad? Smart phones and tablets are emitting radiation and promoting obesity? Okay, but how many learning tools and educational avenues does a tablet provide for children?
You can blame these devices for our failing health, or you can get to the root of the problem which is our lifestyle. If we allow the junk food and electronics to rule our life we are going to see our health suffer. Moderation is key. It’s okay to eat donuts containing trans fats every now and then, it’s okay for your child to play on your smartphone for a few hours a week. Banning these things will not solve the lifestyle problem, it will only hinder those who use them correctly and in moderation. If we want to help those around us we need to educate and spread information. Which is possible now more than ever with the internet and social media. Banning anything and everything we find to have negative side effects is simply not the answer.
In addition, it’s important to remember that in general you can not change a person or their ideas with force. If someone is so careless as to participate in activities and consume products that are detrimental to them, they are always going to find a way to do this. We clearly can not improve society with legislation. As I said, the best way to create change is to educate. We need to use the world wide web to discover and learn and then act accordingly. We can only be an example, we can not police the rest of society.