Why I Still Love the Internet

Judith Kuster (New Ulm, Minnesota USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Judith Maginnis Kuster, Professor (em.) of Communication Disorders (Speech Therapy) at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota, holds graduate degrees in both Communication Disorders and Counseling. For eighteen years she hosted an annual online conference for International Stuttering Awareness Day, drawing participants from more than 150 nations. She continues receiving conference invitations to lecture on stuttering and counseling. She and husband Tom have nine children and 12 grandchildren.

Yes, I know, there are many problems with the Internet. I could write an entire article about this alone and I've had to learn to be careful of many unsavory things. I've encountered things like these:

  • Stolen Picture - a scam website Kill Your Stutter, (http://killyourstutter.com/) dishonestly promising a cure in 10 minutes, featured a made-up testimony by “Albert Sheppard of Austin, Texas” which used a photo lifted from the faculty page of a professor at the University in Michigan.

  • Spam - there are days when my spam folder is bigger than my email box, but I have to be careful because sometimes the spam folder contains important legitimate messages.

  • Phishing - I could be very rich one day! An email from a Nigerian told me I was awarded a lot of money.

  • Desperate email from a "friend" and another that called me "Grandma" who "had his money and passport stolen" and "needed money to get home."

  • Threats - someone said he had my password and sent me an email apparently from my own account demanding $3000 or s/he would post pornographic pictures that I've been looking at (I haven't) to everyone in my address book.

  • Spreading misinformation including hate and fake news. Be careful of any messages that say "share this with all of your friends." Check them on Snopes.
  • Attachments with malware and viruses.
  • Cyber stalking.
  • Pretending to be someone else and luring minors away.
  • Cyber bullying - some leading to suicide.
  • Pornography - there are people I know who have served time as "sex offenders" for connecting to child porn sites.
  • People copying my online materials without attribution or permission.
  • Hitting the send button before realizing my email was going to the wrong, unintended person.
  • Plagiarism.
  • It is frustrating not being able to delete or correct some things I've written or others have written about me!

    There are other problems too:

  • I've had to get computer glasses (but also good for playing the piano)
  • The Internet is a time eater - I spend too much time
  • My spelling has deteriorated and the computer changes words I've typed that I don't catch.
  • I can't keep up with new "stuff" and frankly have decided not to. I'm still stuck in the Facebook Generation - don't do Instagram or Snapchat but do look at pictures my grandchildren have posted.
  • I don't have the income to keep my websites high on search engines and have experienced problems with my Twitter account that I don't know how to fix.

    Changes have caused a LOT of problems and extra work:

    Minnesota State University changed my email account several times. They changed their website URL which means my URL changed too and people who linked to my materials can’t find them any more. They’ve moved parts of my materials to a different server which created huge problems. Many URLs I've linked to on several of my professional sites have changed or disappeared. Sometimes I can find the site again in the WayBack Machine (http://web.archive.org/). Sometimes I simply have to remove dead links to what had been valuable resources.

    People who have written articles for me have asked me to delete or update information or remove their name. That’s hard to do but I do it.

    Perhaps there are several things you DON'T like about the Internet, too.

    But, surprisingly, I still love the Internet!

    Here are a few quick examples of why, and one longer example I was led to by another interesting medium, a 1955 Comic book!

    I can watch live streaming of our church services on snowbound days at home, 30 miles from our congregation or over 1000 miles away in a McDonald's when we are traveling South in winter. Sermons are also archived or available as Podcasts.

    I can start my each day with a short Bible passage, hymn and prayer at the beginning of my personal devotion and listen to short devotions from the pastors from my church also available on YouTube.

    I can listen to some of Tom Kuster's (my husband) archived chapel talks by searching for "kuster" as the preacher.

    I can find hymns (words and music) that I've loved on Hymanary.org and listen to the Bethany Lutheran College choir records archived in the Bethany website.

    I run a very enjoyable Madison Lutheran School closed Facebook group currently containing 90 former students of the school I attended for 8 years. This Synodical Conference school served many ELS, WELS, and LCMS families from 1942-1965. All of those who were first graders or had German had Esther Buchholtz (Hillmann) as a teacher. A much-loved teacher, the stone marking her grave says "Teacher of God's Children." October 8, 2019, I presented an expanded version of a 2017 GOWM conference paper at an OWLS convention in Galena, IL. The presentation on "Traditional Technology" included many ways a Gospel message is spread, even messages from tombstones. One illustration was Mrs. Hillmann's tombstone (formerly Miss Buchholz) who was a wonderful witness of her love for Jesus throughout my years at Madison Lutheran School (1950-1958) and beyond when she visited me the morning of my wedding. That picture prompted an audience member to share that she had Miss Buchholz when she attended MLS the first year the school opened (1941-42) and also remembered her influence through her life. Every person who attended MLS the 24 years it was open (over 1000 students), remembers the love Miss Buchholz had for her students and the Gospel message she shared daily as our teacher and throughout her life.

    I've used Internet search strategies for finding former students. Most frustrating is finding people who either don't use Facebook (it’s necessary for joining the group) or don't even have a computer. Hardest to find are the many of the girls (now women) because most changed their names when they married. Sometimes I can locate a brother who also went to MLS, find newspapers online with their engagement or wedding announcements, or obituaries or graves (http://findagrave.org) of their parents. Other helpful strategies include checking Ancestry.com where I've found family groups to contact, finding a friend or sibling who still has contact, or asking Peter Behrens, the son of the MLS principal for many years. I've found many former MLS students and helped many make connections with the former best friends they've lost contact with over the years. I've also found obituaries of several of the students I remember well. Since the school opened 77 years ago and closed 54 years ago, the youngest alumni would be 59 and the oldest 85!

    How misfortune turned into a unique "media treasure"

    I can get lots of quick (and if I'm careful) reliable information about many topics online. One recent example:

    The rogue waterpipe

    A frozen water pipe broke in our lower floor, and sprayed water on several boxes of stored vintage comic books I had planned to sell some day. One box not damaged contained (among other treasures) a copy of The Story of Jesus, a 1955 Classics Illustrated Comic, the first Classics Illustrated special edition that originally cost 35-cents and had been owned by Pattie Scheid (Obie) when she was 9 years old, living in New Ulm.

    A second copy of The Story of Jesus in another box ended up totally soaked and in the garbage. BUT I still had one, preserved in a plastic jacket. Looking at the old comic, I was again impressed by the illustrations by William A. Walsh and especially by how faithfully it told about the life of Jesus. I had never looked up the author of a comic before but when I realized how accurate his portrayal was, I decided to do that. I discovered Lorenz Graham who, during the 1950s, was hired to write adaptations for Classics Illustrated comic books.

    Lorenz Bell
    Graham

    Lorenz Bell Graham was born January 27, 1902, in New Orleans and died September 11, 1989, in Los Angeles. His parents were Etta (Bell) Graham and Rev. David Andrew Graham, a Methodist minister who served churches in New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Nashville, Colorado Springs, and Spokane. In 1924 Lorenz felt called to become a missionary in Liberia where he taught at Monrovia College, a Christian boys’ school and where he met his wife, Ruth Morris, a missionary teacher. His biographical information online reports:

    Going to Africa changed Lorenz Graham’s life. He realized he had gone with a false concept of what African people were like. He decried the fact that all he had read or seen had described Africans in stereotypical terms as savages, at best stupid and amusing, at worst vicious and depraved. While in Africa he decided that he would become a writer and write stories that would describe Africans realistically as he was coming to know them and their lives.

    Graham in his study

    There is no movie about Lorenz Graham and no modern media by or about him other than his books. I ordered his seminal work from Amazon and was spell-bound. The "Town" Series: South Town, North Town, Whose Town? and Return to South Town were published from 1958-1976.

    The easy-to-read series "chronicles the life of an African American youth as he journeys from adolescence to adulthood and experiences racism starting in the 1950's. Grahams's sensitive portrayal of his characters, showing how they led everyday lives, made him a pioneer in his field and earned him the title, ‘Dean of African American Literature.’"

    I would love to see a movie about Lorenz Graham and another retelling the Town series. Graham's exemplary life and the Town series would both make excellent Christian movies. The four books are at a suitable reading level for middle school students and interesting for adults who observe the current state of race relations and those who lived through the civil rights era.

    "South Town and North Town were the bookends to a small library which I used to raise a teenage African American boy....The Graham books were so accessible that I noticed those were the only two books my son refused to lend out and in fact kept privately secreted under his bed." Maya Angelou

    I never would have discovered this remarkable man without a broken pipe that ruined several boxes of vintage comics but spared an interesting traditional medium, a 65 year old comic book by Lorenzo Graham, The Story of Jesus, combined with a modern activity, an extensive internet search.

    Those are some reasons why I can still love the internet.


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  • Discussion

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    Isaiah Butler (Wisconsin Lutheran College ) 2019-10-21 8:01:51pm
    I really enjoyed your article about the internet. You do make some interesting cases about the internet and why it is bad. I totally agree that you have those people out there looking to scam others, but all in all I believe the internet is very joyful place. Also, it is a place to get away form the real world. I think you have to be more "internet savey." You said you have problems keeping up with new things that pop on the internet. I believe that is a difference in generations. Growing up, the internet was in its infant stages. Now, as I have progressed my education, the internet has made strides to become this great "being." You can interact with different people, create different projects, and find your favorite bible passages like you said.

    All in all I believe the internet is great thing for all. Yes, there can be some bad things to happen, but you have to know how to use it. That really speaks to the difference of generations. The internet is the great equalizer in today's society.
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    Skylar Cotten (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-22 4:07:35pm
    I agree with you on how you have to be more cautious when on the internet. Things have definitely changed a lot over the years and it is not how it was in the past. The internet is a great thing and provides many benefits.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 2:58:37am
    Thanks for reading my rant and the rest of my paper, too ;-) Yes, the Internet is a wonderful tool and I use it all the time in many ways including recently to find recipes, ideas for Christmas ornaments I make every year for my children and grandchildren, finding a decent and reasonable place to stay in recent travels, arranging meeting times, registering for a conference, checking new updates on my DNA, reading a newspaper, and how to get permanent magic marker off of a plastic container, writing 3 important letters, reading and posting to a GOWM paper, responding to messages on email, LinkedIn, and Facebook and sending 3 birthday greetings.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 2:57:11am
    Isaiah, Thank you for your response and positive comments.I have been using Internet technology even before the military opened Arpanet allowing the WWW to be available to the public. I started developing materials to share in my professional discipline using Gopher which basically died when the WWW emerged. I had to learn a whole new (and exciting) system to build the first website on Stuttering, and still maintain it more than 40 years later. Along the way I've had to learn new technology including creating chat rooms and discussion forums which have been replaced by new and much easier technology. I've learned to edit and digitize audio and video to put online. I've learned ways to identify plagiarism in university students' papers. I developed the first online class at my university and a very early online conference available for college credit and continuing education that I sponsored for 17 years. I helped convince the CMI board to sponsor a Gospel Outreach With Media online conference several years ago. My work on the Internet has introduced me to hundreds of people around the world and provided invitations to present in most states and many foreign countries in my professional discipline. I'm currently working online to develop a PPT with 8 other professionals for a group presentation at our professional conference in Orlando in November.

    What I choose not to "keep up with" is using the new technology to expand on my personal Internet projects. Yes, I'm older, and I have other things in my life that I want to do now, but I appreciate and participate in what the new generation has made available online, and link to many examples of their work as it relates to my profession - blogs, social media, twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Ted Talks, podcasts, apps, and even online technology that is creative for indivuals with disabilities, etc. I even have a cell phone;-)

    I celebrate with you the good things that the Internet has accomplished, including how the Internet has made it possible for the Holy Spirit to reach "all the world" with the saving Gospel. But I am also aware of some of the dark side. Much of what happens on social media is shallow and impersonal. There are people that rely on the Internet for all of their friends and lose the face-to-face contact that is important in strong relationships. Children don't play outside with neighborhood friends anymore. They spend their time online. It has been monetized with constant ads that have been specialized for individuals based on all the personal information that is collected on all of us. Cyberbullying has led to many suicides and I have intervened several times in Internet suicide threats by people who stutter, one from a 6 year old, another from an 11 year old, and others from teens, college students and adults. I'm personally aghast at what the Internet has done in politics. There are Satanic and porn sites as well as false gurus that have led Christians astray. There are gambling sites that have potential to become addictive. There are sites online that show how to build bombs, how to commit suicide, how to make plastic guns that can get through security systems, how to plan a terrorist attack, etc.

    And for me, it has become a big time-eater.
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    Emily Sanchez (Bethany ) 2019-10-22 12:10:01am
    Well said! The internet can be a scary dark place. I am sorry you had all those bad experiences with the internet. However I look up to you for making the best out of the internet and using it for something so good. I appreciate people like you and you have given people who have seen only the dark side of the internet hope. Not all people realize that they can use the internet for good biblical purposes.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 2:59:44am
    Thanks for your kind response, Emily. Your insight that the internet can be used for "good biblical purposes" is important. This and the past GOWM online conferences share many excellent examples. Plus we as individuals can do that, too, when we respond to FB friends. I see lots of potential when friends' posts relate serious problems - serious illness, death of a friend or family member for example. We can share more than "you are in our thoughts and prayers" and lead our FB friends to encouraging Bible verses and offer our love and if possible, our help.
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    Sallie Draper (WELS Technology) 2019-10-22 2:08:52pm
    Judy,

    Thanks for sharing examples of the dark and light sides of the Internet. God has gifted us with digital technology in a manner similar to various gifts of communication, industry, and medical advances. Because these gifts are of this world, sin skews our usage. Sin is obvious and prevalent but also masked and deceiving on the Internet. We must be on our guard and regularly in God's Word to recognize sin and strengthen our discerning hearts.

    But when we do that ... the amazing blessings from Internet usage overflow. I loved the connections you made to your childhood school and illustrator Lorenz Graham. Thanks for sharing those! My greatest joy in Internet usage is the close connection I have to my 89 year old Mom who lives 1000+ miles from me. She models use of the Internet to her extended connected family by sharing God's Word regularly, especially using verse images. She also loves to watch the live stream of her grandson leading chapel at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on her iPad. What a blessing this gift from God is to her and me!
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 3:00:24am
    I really admire and envy your wonderful knowledge and sharing of technology. I often wonder how you keep up and if you ever sleep ;-) Your and Martin Spriggs' "WELS tech" weekly podcasts are truly helpful and examples of how technological advances are indeed "amazing blessings" that can be used to share God's Word. Your 89 year old mother is amazing, not only how she uses the Internet for keeping contact with you and her grandson, but even that she is such a techie!! It must be in the genes ;-) So many in my our generation who are 15 -20 years younger than she is, don't have Internet or even a computer, including my brother who only has a basic cell phone, has a FB page his children have set up for him but he never uses it, and does not have a computer. I'm glad he has a phone ;-)
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    Tmk 2019-10-22 3:59:25pm
    I truly appreciate your honesty on the effective use of the internet.however, it all boils down how you use it effectively.The internet can be used to channel message of hope and salvation around the globe.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 3:01:23am
    "It all boils down how you use it effectively." Good post, Tmk. I know you will find ways throughout your life to use the Internet in many ways, including channeling a message "of hope and salvation around the globe."
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    Benjamin Johnson (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-22 4:01:43pm
    I agree with this! Even though the internet can have bad things around it at all times, almost everything does. It can be used in many good ways (As long as you do not let it consume you). It is a gift to us and we should use it wisely and for the benefit of knowledge that would be much harder to find otherwise. Having an understanding of how to use it is very important. Also, the ability to communicate through the internet is an amazing thing that we should take advantage of.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 3:02:34am
    Thanks for the response, Benjamin. I agree with you. You said, " Having an understanding of how to use it is very important." It made me think of so many new doors that are open because of the Internet. A few examples - In my field, people in rural areas where speech therapy is difficult to find, can be served online. People are working on degrees online or taking classes that are not offered in their high schools and colleges. Doctors are diagnosing and treating patients in remote areas online (even in Antarctica). I believe WELS counselors are currently offering counseling online where people cannot access Christian counseling elsewhere. And my daughter has been able to keep her full-time job as a bank executive in Minneapolis for the past two years through the Internet while living in Florida and commuting to Minneapolis one week each month when her husband took as call to the WELS Doral high school and he is also currently working on an advanced degree offered on the other side of the country. And this online conference is reaching people all around the world, without having to travel, pay for a hotel room, and only being able to attend a few sessions which would happen in a regular conference. The Internet can indeed "be used in many good ways."

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    Halle Blais (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-22 10:20:50pm
    I enjoyed reading this article. Many look at the internet as something that is only used for bad and many Christians look down on it because they see it as a gate way for sin with porn and other anti Christian sites are online but if utilized right it can lead us even closer to God and answer questions that we may not have known or lead us to discussions that bring us together such as this one. If used correctly it can open opportunities for all Christians and non Christians alike!
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-23 3:03:25am
    I love what you point out, Halle, how the Internet has potential to "lead us even closer to God and answer questions that we may not have known or lead us to discussion that bring us together such as this one." It continues to be our prayer that these online conferences are doing just that. All the presenters are happy to receive your comments, but also happy to answer questions and participate in discussions the 3 weeks the conference is open. Sometime you might enjoy some of the papers and discussion from the previous online conferences. The links to those conferences are new the top of the first conference page.
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    Julia Hodkiewicz (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-23 8:03:37pm
    I love that this article takes the perspective that the internet can be used for good as well as bad; it just depends on how we use it. I had also never heard of Lorenz Graham before reading this article, but he sounds like a fascinating person! I would also love to see a movie made on his life and work as well as do some more research on his life myself.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-24 2:15:36pm
    Thanks for your response, Julia. If you type "Lorenz Grahm" into a Google, Bing or other ways you find information online, you'll find some interesting insight into him. His daughter has a nice website where I got most of the personal information about him. I think it is linked to my paper. And yes, I hope there is a movie about his life and work someday. He was a special man, and a fine Christian.
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    Alexander Heiman ((Martin Luther College)) 2019-10-24 4:53:24pm
    Mrs. Kuster,

    I never thought of all the different sources one can use just for their morning devotion. I agree with both of the statements you make in the beginning that the internet can have its downfall and some very scary and bad places, but the internet can truly prove useful in our own personal faith life. The story at the end was very interesting and I loved how the whole story fit together in the end with the topic of the internet and how useful it can prove to be.

    In your article you mentioned that people who have written articles for you have asked you to remove their name or update information. You said tht this is hard for you, but you still do it. I was mainly wondering what exactly people have asked you to change and why this could be hard for you? Is it just challenging to access these articles sometimes, or is it more of an emotional attachment sometimes, that makes it difficult to edit these?

    Thank you for this article, and I enjoyed reading your perspective on the great parts of the internet.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-24 7:40:14pm
    I will confess that I do not use a web editor - from the very beginning of the WWW I use basic html on my personal and professional Internet sites that are not glitzy, and not always "appreciated" by the new generation who occasionally suggest I completely redo my sites which have grown like topsy over the years. I have no funds to invest, expertise, help, or time to redo the vast amount I have online. My sites are information rich although some of my work online has technology, tables, foreign fonts, and pictures (e.g Voices: Past and Present - https://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/voices/voices.html
    and the ISAD online conferences archive from 1998-2019 https://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/isadarchive/onlineconference.html I've put ISAD online conferences together from 1998-2013 and the papers often had more technology). Examples of the editing people ask me to do - since I've maintained my sites on stuttering for nearly 40 years, there have been times people who stutter who have written articles for the conferences and teens who have posted essays and poems elsewhere on my Stuttering Home Page are concerned about having potential employers searching for them online and have found examples of them on my pages. The are concerned that a potential employer may discriminate against hiring them because of their stuttering. I have been asked to change their names to initials or substitute "anonyous" for their name and in some cases to delete their essay completely. Some have written various posts and articles over the years and I have to check for them, find where I've stored them online, make the various changes and reload the updated information to my university server. Other times people find a typo or a sentence they want me to change. I do that. I have no emotional attachment and when I locate the html document to edit, it usually isn't difficult to edit, but it all takes a lot of time for me, especially when the server is not responding for me to upload again. I also have many links to many formerly very useful sites of materials that no longer function. I have to explore key words to determine if the actual site has been moved to a different URL, if the current site has been reorganized, if the site is gone but the material is still on the web archive (in those cases I redo the old links to the new ones), and sometimes I simply have to remove the links that have expired even if they were excellent. In two cases the URLs have be purchased by another party who turned them into very unsavory porn sites which I of course deleted.
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    Caleb Hengst (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:24:14pm
    Mrs. Kuster,

    I agree with you and your view of the internet. I also very much appreciate you taking into account, in detail, the other side of the argument, which would argue against the internet. Even through all the negatives of the internet, it is still a good and useful tool if used correctly.

    I read about how you give great effort into finding former students of MLS in order to get them into the Facebook group. You showed many of the struggles you come across during this process. It made me curious about why it’s so important that these former students are in this group on Facebook. You mentioned that you want them to reconnect with each other, but is there any other reason that you take it upon yourself to track down the students and invite them to the group?

    Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-24 8:19:31pm
    Caleb, Interesting question. I've always been interested in genealogy and have worked extensively on my own for many years. It is sad to me that one of the differences in my generation and yours is that my generation seems more interested in family history and even physical treasures that are passed on from generation to generation. I have one of the broaches that my g-g-grandmother gave to each of her daughters. These daughters have passed that broach down to a daughter, niece or granddaughter for generations. I have one that came to me through my g-grandmother, great aunt who had no daughters, and mother. I don't see that same interest in preserving family history or physical treasures in many of the current generation. Many times I've wished that I could visit with my grandparents again about their grandparents and their own histories.

    MLS was a treasure in my childhood and I've worked to preserve the history of that school online at https://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster2/fun/MLS/mlshistory.html Answering your question "is there any other reason that you take it upon yourself to track down the students and invite them to the group?" Occasionally other former students have come across that page and have interesting stories and memories they have shared with me. Other schools are online that have virtual school reunions on Facebook and I decided to start one for MLS. Sometimes new members ask, "Can you find out what happened to my old friend so-and-so" and that starts the search. It is just fun for me to add people to the group;-)
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    Diana Escalona (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:32:06pm

    Mrs. Kuster,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article, and particularly loved how you mentioned so many reasons to not love the internet. In today’s world the internet has become such an essential part of peoples’ everyday lives, and it is crazy to see how much impact it has in them. It’s almost crazy how much we are dependent on it, yet it still contains so many flaws. What I enjoyed the most, though, was the fact that you put a positive spin on the uses of the internet. These positive comments helped me realize that although the internet can be a scary place at times, it can still offer us so many benefits, such as with listening to sermons online as you mentioned, which is something I personally find very convenient with having such a busy schedule.

    After reading your article, I had one question. You mentioned in your article that you use the internet to search for Bible passages and daily devotions. I was curious about how you feel about using the online versions of these versus using a physical Bible of devotional book. Do you prefer having it physically, or do you just simply prefer the online version? In my personal experiences, I’ve found that at times using the online version tends to take away from the message for me. I find this especially thought-provoking when it comes to identifying context in Bible passages, or even something as simple as not being able to focus when I try to read online with ads sometimes popping up out of nowhere, or notifications almost begging me to open them.

    Thank you for your contribution to the conference!
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-25 11:23:46pm
    Thank you for your interesting and insightful post, Diana. Your point is well-taken about how online Bible passages do not allow simply going back to the text in the same way as a hard-copy of your Bible, to identify the context which can be important to the full understanding of the passage(s). I also sometimes have trouble with all the various Bible translations. I understand the need to update Bible versions for easier understanding and appreciate all the effort scholars have made and enjoy new versions, too. But I like to read many familiar passages in the version I memorized and had it explained to me by Christian teachers in grade school. Some of the translations lose the beauty of a passage for me (e.g. the 23rd Psalm and Luke 2). Others lose the cadence that I loved when I learned a passage - "He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15. Sometimes I get frustrated when a translation doesn't really say what I've always appreciated. For example I was told long ago there is a triple negative in the Greek in a passage in Hebrew 13:5. This is the only place in the Bible which can be translated as a triple negative - never, never, never foresake you. This is as firm as the Bible makes it, which I love. It doesn't appear anywhere else that I'm aware of. But I have yet to find a translation that uses that triple negative. The hymn book "updates" even changed the hymn verse (How Firm a Foundation - last verse in the Hymnal, 427) I learned based on that passage, "I'll never, no never, no never forget." The new verions reduce it to two nevers.

    I agree with your statement that there are distractions when trying to use the Internet. I sometimes turn off my wifi access when I'm trying to concentrate on what I am reading. You are also right about ads that keep leading me away from what I was working on!
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    Diana Escalona (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:18:39pm
    Mrs. Kuster,
    Thank you for your response! I understand where you are coming from, and appreciate the example you gave me about the different translations, as I didn't even think of this before. While context is important, the translations are as well, especially when attempting to identify to what extent, as you mentioned with the example of that triple negative that is omitted in all the other translations. It certainly is something that sticks out to me and that I now want to further explore myself, especially since I grew up reading the NIV, and that one has a few updates that have been made to it as well.

    Once again, thank you for your response and for sharing your thoughts! I will certainly be taking them into consideration as I continue to study the Bible.
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    McKenzey Crowley (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 10:20:42pm
    Professor Kuster,


    I appreciated the ways you showed how the internet can be dangerous and the internet can be useful in the church way. You mentioned many examples such as watching church service online, looking up bible passages, or finding hymns that we greatly enjoy. I thought it was also interesting to see that having a water pipe break brings you to the internet to learn more about someone special which is a part of why the internet is so interesting to you. This shows how people can discover other things through some event happening in their life.

    One question I had while I was reading your article was have you experienced the terrible things you mentioned from the internet? How did you handle those situations when they came up? I know I have met people who have experienced those terrible things, and have realized the internet is still not the best thing. I also have realized there are useful parts to the internet and how it can he helpful. I appreciate your insight to the internet and how it has helped you out.





    Thank you for your thoughts on the internet. God’s Blessings!
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-25 9:57:56pm
     How did you handle those situations when they came up? That a VERY big question. I'll do my best.

    • Stolen Picture - I used facial identification site to track down the thief and informed the professor he was being "used." He changed his faculty page with a new photo. Others tracked down the dishonest person doing it. He lives in Canada and there was no way to take down his scam site. I published a warning on my Stuttering Home Page on "Let the buyer beware" of various internet sites that claim for stuttering.
    • Spam - the original online conferences I developed about stuttering used Microsoft software for the threaded discussions. Bots entered and put lots of spam on my conferences (selling things, advertising porn sites, etc) and I had to go in several times/day to delete the spam for three weeks. There was no way to block them. Now my email software Outlook) has a spam folder that screens all my email. Sometimes the folder gets more email than my regular email folder. It takes a lot of work every day to delete the spam and is very annoying. I also have excellent frequently updated protection on my computer and so far it is working but some of the spam is now getting into my regular email account, too.
    • Phishing - I get 2 or 3 of spam every day that wants access to by bank account to send me millions of dollars I've "inherited." I delete it.
    • Desperate email - I talked to him asking personal questions that my grandson would know. He hung up.
    • Threats - people email and say they have my password and send me an email apparently from my own account demanding $3000 or they would post pornographic pictures that I've been looking at (I haven't) to everyone in my address book. - I asked my university help desk that gave me a way to report it and was told to just ignore it and delete it.
    • Spreading misinformation - I Check them on Snopes.
    • Attachments with malware and viruses. - my university protection software updated often catches a lot which is either put in quarantine, blocked, or deleted
    • Cyber stalking - I haven't been stalked online but one of my children was. We talked about it, reported it to the police and deleted the messages.
    • Pretending to be someone else - that happens a lot of Facebook friends. When I figure it out, I delete them and change my password.
    • Cyber bullying - I have information on cyber bullying on my speech therapy pages and warm others about cyberbullying (it happens - some leading to suicide and others leading to police action).
    • Pornography - I used to delete a lot of ads to porn sites and report them. I still get them but not as often.
    • People copying my online materials without attribution or permission. It has happened often. Sometimes I just ignore it. In other cases where it is important to me, I try to get it fixed. In that case I've written to who is doing it, if I can find an email address. One case was in Russia. Nothing I could do about it. Another instance was very upsetting to me (I knew who was doing it and he has a serious mental disorder) I wrote to his server who could (or wouldn't) do anything about it and the person who did it never responded to me. He did it to another person who hired a lawyer and got what he did off. I don't have funds to hire a lawyer. I just lived with it, informed people that were using his URL instead of mine and waited several years until his domain expired and bought it myself. I still own it and have to pay for it, making it a dead link. Long story. Another case I contacted the professional where my material was stolen by his grad assistant who built his website. I had permission to put it online but it wasn't extended beyond my page so it was an ethical problem. The professor was very upset and his grad assistant lost his position in the program and the information was removed. I just wanted it removed because it was case studies (without names, of individuals who stuttered).
    • Hitting the send button before realizing my email was going to the wrong, unintended person. In one case it was embarrassing and made a person angry with me. I apologized to the person that took offense at what I wrote and to the large list of people to where the email went and re-mailed it to the correct address. I'm more careful now, even if I'm in a hurry, to check where my email is going.
    • Plagiarism - I had a disclaimer on my syllabi and explained what plagiarism is and that there is zero tolerance. One case I talked to the students and helped him learn how to site sources appropriately and he redid the paper. In my classes over 25 year, I caught two blatant cases that were brought up to the department and they both were dropped from the major and they earned an F unless there was time left to drop the course.
    • I've had to get computer glasses - they help
    • The Internet is a time eater - I spend too much time online and need to continue turning my computer off more often.
    • My spelling has deteriorated and the computer changes words I've typed that I don't catch. - I try to proofread carefully but always find typos after I've sent or posted something.
    • I can't keep up with new "stuff" and frankly have decided not to. I celebrate and explore new opportunities online. I link to appropriate information that uses new "stuff" - like blogs, Vimeo, Virtual Reality, social media, etc. but I do not develop those options myself on what I link to.
    • I don't have the income to keep my websites high on search engines and have experienced problems with my Twitter account that I don't know how to fix. I live with it for now.
    • Lots of extra work for me - People who have written articles for me have asked me to delete or update information or remove their name. and Minnesota State University changed my URL several times. See my response to another post above.
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    McKenzey Crowley (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-10 9:40:22pm
    Thank you for your very descriptive answer to my very large question. I have had to deal with some of those difficulties on the internet and with your answer, I will now know how to better deal with these situations when they come up. Thank you for the information and God's Blessings on the rest of your work!
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    Jace Fellers (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 4:17:16am
    Mrs. Kuster,

    The article you wrote about has hit me on several levels. The idea of the internet is both a blessing and a curse. That it can be addictive to scroll through social media, but also great it is for connecting people. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I also really liked how you mentioned some of the hazards of the internet, puts it into perspective how harsh the internet can be.

    However, I do have a question for you that I hope you could answer. Did Lorenz Bell Graham inspire you to write this article? As to get out information about him that you think we should know?

    I hope to hear back from you. Thank you so much for your contribution to the conference.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-26 2:27:19am
    In a way Graham did inspire me to write this article. I did a presentation on last year's online conference about Traditional Technology (https://2017.gowm.org/sessions/kusterj/) where I shared several ways people can or have open/ed up conversations about Jesus. That was before I found the Jesus comic. I was invited to update my presentation live at an OWLS conference and decided to add a copy of the book and looked up information about Graham to my presentation so I an internet search about him. I learned about Graham's life and his Town Series books and loved them I wanted to lead people in this conference to learn about Graham's work and especially the Town Series books.
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    Jace Fellers (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:16:48pm
    Thank you for your response, that is fascinating to hear about your experiences and how you used the comic and the Town Series books in the conference. I am happy to hear also that you were invited to the online conference as well.
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    MacKenzie Lynch (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 5:07:12am
    Mrs. Kuster,

    I appreciated your article very much and how you haven’t given up on the internet as many people have despite all of the unfortunate things that occur by abusing it. There are so many positive uses to using the internet that can bring joy to others, such as your example about finding or attempting to find old students and classmates. What a tremendous gift and resource it truly is when in the right hands.

    Upon reading your article it did leave me with a question. What did you end up doing with the old comic books that weren’t ruined. Did you end up keeping them or did you sell them as you had at one point planned? These could be wonderful family heirlooms for future generations. What a great tool they could be or have been for evangelism.

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing your knowledge and story with all those honored to read it.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-26 2:06:35am
    Thanks for reading my article, MacKenzie. Your question "What did you end up doing with the old comic books that weren’t ruined. Did you end up keeping them or did you sell them as you had at one point planned?' My answer;-) - I still have them. At a recent garage sale a man who has a comic book shop gave me $100 for a stack of about15-20 that he was interested in. I'll probably end up selling them, except for a couple - the Jesus comic I wrote about and a Henry comic - the comic about a little boy who was bald. The person who wrote the series was married to my mother's cousin. I still have one of their Christmas cards which also featured Henry.
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    MacKenzie Lynch (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:16:48pm
    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question. I loved hearing back from you. It is very fascinating that you are distantly related to the author of the series. In my opinion it would be very beneficial to keep the Jesus comic. Once again, thank you for your response.
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-05 12:35:44am
    Just an explanation - I am not distantly related to the author of the series if you are talking about the Town series. If you are talking about the series of online conferences, Tom Kuster is my husband - not distant at all - he's sitting right next to me at the moment:-) Sorry for the misunderstanding;-)
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    Caden Rindt (MLC) 2019-10-25 1:58:46pm
    Mrs. Kuster


    I really enjoyed your article about the internet, and I think it holds many timely truths. Even though we intend it to be safe for us and for kids, we aren’t always able to keep them out of trouble.






    After reading, I wondered if you have any advice on how to block out all the negativity online. Obviously we can’t ignore everything, but do you have a certain way that you ignore bad things online?








    Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-26 2:00:39am
    The only way I can think of to block out all the negativity online." Is to turn off your computer;-) When you start teaching some day, you see that most schools have software that blocks some "bad" sites. There are also search engines that are designed just for children. Keep kids away from search engines like the Google you use and teach them how to use the internet appropriately. (Good luck!) Google has several versions of kid-safe search engine including GoGooligans which " a number of important features including: use Google index to retrieve results, apply  different kinds of filtering features, excludes inappropriate sites and keywords, offers search in over 30 languages and many more." There are others you may explore online at https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2018/01/11-great-kids-safe-search-engines.html - 11 Great Kids Safe Search Engines. Another on the lists of eleven that I'm familiar with is DuckDuckGo with allows " users to search the net without compromising their private and personal information. DuckDuckGo does not store search history, doesn’t run ads, and does not track users."
    Subscribe to an email program that has a good spam folder. Learn about cyberbullying. For you, explore http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/Internet-Safety-Tips.pdf - Internet Safety (a government publication) and other information that you can uncover online using key words. Another good site is Keeping Children Safe Online (updated for 2019) https://tradesmencosts.co.uk/keeping-children-safe-online/
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    Caden Rindt (MLC) 2019-11-04 7:21:54pm
    Thank you so much for the reply. I definitely agree that turning off the computer is the easiest way, but I also enjoyed looking at those websites that you mentioned. I think that, with some hard work, we can make the internet a much safer place for young children.
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    Luke Schlomer (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 3:40:53pm
    Mrs. Kuster,

    This article was very intriguing with the ways you talked about the internet being a sinful tool but also a way to spread the Good News of Jesus. Since technology and the internet are becoming more prevalent with social media, it is awesome that we can use our phones and computers to listen to sermons, find hymns online, or read a devotion. It is truly a blessing to be able to use the internet in such ways.

    When I read through the portion about The Story of Jesus comics, it left me with a question. Is the comic The Story of Jesus written by Lorenz Graham connected specifically to one of the four Gospels or just all of them mashed together? I think comics are always a fun read and could also be a great way to share God’s Word and the stories in the Bible.

    Thanks for the article about the internet and the possible uses of it to further spread the Gospel. God’s blessings!
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-25 11:56:32pm
    Luke, Graham wrote that comic published in the 1950's and used the KJV for the words spoken by the characters. It starts with the annunciation and concludes with the ascension. He uses the familiar words of Jesus in all the Gospels. At the top of many panels is more modern English language setting the scene. It is true to the Bible but not entirely word for word in every section. For example when Martha came out from the village to meet Jesus, she says "My brother hath lain in the grave four days. If thou hadst been here, he would not have died." Jesus replies, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." It skips Martha's words that she understands the resurrection at the last day and in the next frame Jesus is telling the men "Take ye away the stone.'' Next frame " Lazarus, come forth" Next frame "Loose him and let him go."
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    Luke Schlomer (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:20:47pm
    Mrs. Kuster, thanks for the clarifying response! I think that it is awesome that all of the Gospels are implemented in the comic.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-28 12:49:20pm
    This is in answer to the question (accidentally deleted, sorry) about how hard it was to find members for the Madison Lutheran School Facebook group. When we started the group, it was not all that difficult to find people my co-founder and I knew from our classes and still remembered and often had contact with. But there are several challenges with locating the over 1000 people i've identified who attended MLS. I know some that I remember have died and many on the list are probably already over age 65, it isn't easy to "grow the group." There are several I've found who do not have a computer or do not have a FaceBook account and don't want to create one. It is a challenge with the girls (now women) have often gotten married and taken their husband's last name. We do already have 90 (but that is less than 10%). I've been searching for probably 3 years already and don't have a lot of time to hunt for more people at the moment. When things settle down in my life, I'll probably work more at tracking down others. It's always fun when I can introduce a new member;-)
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-28 8:44:34pm
    If you want to repost you question, I'll put my reply below it. Otherwise, I think I answered your question. Thanks for your participation!
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    Taryn Christensen (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-30 1:28:39am
    Yes, I agree, everyone spends too much time on the internet every day. But it also helps me, and others, get away from all the bad in their real lives today. The internet also provides many different benefits to help us in the future. How you stated that there are bad things with having the internet and I 100% agree with you on that, many people try every day trying spam or steal personal information. I believe for the more elder people, it's hard to keep up with certain things on the internet and that's a generation issue, for me I grew up around it my whole life and I've loved it ever since.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-30 8:07:47pm
    Thanks for taking the time to read my paper, Taryn, and we both agree there a good things and bad things online. I don't have trouble keeping up with "things on the Internet". I have trouble with keeping up myself in creating things online. I celebrate and link to many of those creative things others are putting online in my professional discipline. You might be interested in reading my response to Isaiah - the first person to post a response to my article.
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    Sashia Swenson (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-11-03 7:11:22pm
    Your absolutely right that there are bad aspects to the internet but that there are also so many wonderful things that can come from the internet. I found the the personal story about the comic books to be really cool in seeing the connections from a broken pipe all the way to finding out more about Lorenz Bell Graham. As long as we are aware and understand the dangers of the internet, there is so much we can do that can result in cool stories like this.
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-04 12:46:04am
    Thanks, Sashia. I agree about the need to be aware of dangers of the Internet. There are also so many opportunities to explore and find good answers quickly on the Internet. Sometimes I start looking for an answer and find other questions I want to explore, too. Such an amazing resource we have at our fingertips!
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    Josanne Lewis 2019-11-04 7:20:01pm
    Mrs. Kuster

    I like how you made accurate comments about the internet even when the internet is probably more bad than good. You stated how you can do positive things on the internet such as watching live streams of church services, finding hymns and listen to your husband archive talks.

    There’s one question that I have for you. You said that the internet is a time teaser and i know you only do positive things on the internet, but do you find yourself on the internet a lot?

    Thank you very much for this resourceful article, it made me realize a lot.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-05 12:18:50am
    Thanks for reading the article and yes, I'm on the Internet WAY too much. I'm subscribed to newspapers (I would have spent time reading them in hard copy so that isn't extra time online I guess, but it is cheaper than delivered papers and I don't have newspapers to recycle. I just spent 20 minutes listening to an absolutely wonderful podcast - see the conference paper introducing podcasts on this conference. The direct URL is They just loaded a second one about Pat (the direct URL is https://2019.gowm.org/sessions/petersen) what a story!! I am on other podcasts (usually in the car when driving. I've been answering several personal emails and responding to individuals on two facebook groups I'm on including one group I created for those who went to Madison Lutheran School which was open from 1941-1965 (I spent all 8 grades there). I'm working on uploading materials on two of my internet sites, etc. I guess it isn't really a time waster since I'm choosing to spent my time online. I just signed up for a Progressive Supper on Friday with our church group. Right now I have to go finish getting supper on the table though - I'm trying a recipe I found online;-)
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    Chris (BLC D.E. Student) 2019-11-05 1:50:52am
    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. My favorite point was that the internet can be both a blessing and a curse. Depending on how we use it, the internet can help many, connect people, and even hurt others in ways that include but are not limited to social media and phishing. Still it is awesome how you have used the internet to do what truly important: having a closer connection with Christ (for example by watching your church’s streams) and spreading the good news.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-05 2:29:46am
    Chris, Thank you for reading my article and your thoughtful response. Sometime I would like to find out what the D.E. after BLC means:-)
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    Isabella & Michayla (Wisconsin Lutheran College ) 2019-11-08 8:04:25pm
    We really enjoyed reading your article. It's important to see the good in the bad because it seems like the internet is full of terrible things. There are a lot of people who do just look at bad things involving the internet but you gave some great examples of good uses of the internet. We especially enjoyed the story of how you found so many people from your grade school. How long did it take you to find people from your school?
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-09 1:51:30pm
    Thank you for checking my article and your comments. You asked "How long did it take you to find people from your school"? Actually there are 90 of us signed up in the group and I've found many former MLS classmates do not have Internet or even a computer, or if they do, are not on Facebook. One actually learned how to join FB so she could join! I've also discovered that many have died, and in a couple of cases have one of their children or a spouse who have joined the group. I've been searching for several years. I've identified over 1000 former students (there are probably more) and had a now defunct yahoo group for my own class that I created Jan 14, 2001. I actually found what happened to all the students in the class that graduated together in 1958. When we created the MLS group March 26, 2017, I started searching again. When I have time I will continue searching.
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    Kaylan B. (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-08 11:59:47pm
    Well written article! The internet is, without a doubt, one of the best and worst things. The other day I was with my grandparents, helping my grandma, download a Pinterest app as well as answer other questions she had regarding her iPhone. Seeing the expression on her face once it downloaded was priceless because now she is able to look up new recipes and crafts. The internet can be such a great place to learn and explore, which is why it is easy to love! I noticed that your bio said you have 12 grandchildren and I was wondering, if they are old enough, have taught you anything about the internet or gave you another reason to love the internet?
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-09 11:02:09pm
    Thanks for your response and that your generation sometimes has to help my generation learn and appreciate what the Internet has to offer! I know people that don't even have a computer and think how much they are missing;-) The first thing that comes to mind for me is that if I want to communicate with my grandchildren (and children), they have taught me how to use the Internet since they don't write letters;-) Many don't even use FaceBook anymore. So I needed to first learn how to text and then learn how to use voice to text. I do miss getting REAL mail though;-) I still need to learn to trust venmo if they need a loan or ask for money though;-)
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    Nora S. (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-11-09 5:09:09pm
    This article brings up great points. The internet, while full of many bad things, also gives us amazing opportunities for outreach that would otherwise be nearly impossible. Through the internet we can reach so many people that would take hours of labor and volunteering by congregation members if they had to do so in person. The internet is yet another blessing from God that, when used widely, is a great tool to spread his Word.
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-09 10:51:36pm
    Yes Nora, Your last point about the potential outreach opportunities that God has given us reminds me of Matt. 24:14 - And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. There are many signs to remind us that the end times may come in our lifetime. It also reminds me of what Jesus said on Ascension Day when he told his disciplines Mark 1615 - Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. The Internet is a way to help us do that.
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    Mario Cordero/ Millicent Selenka (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-11 2:15:49am
    It's very interesting for us to see the both side of the spectrum and the age barrier when it comes to opinions about the internet especially because we can both agree that our parents have similar opinions to the ones in your article; however, nowadays the internet is a fundamental pillar for so many things that we could probably count more positives aspects to internet rather than negative aspects. If well it's true the internet can't be controlled we also think that thanks to cyberspaces can do years and years of research about history, learn different languages, and more importantly maintain great communication with family members especially if they are not in the same state or country.
    One thing we agreed on it's that there should be more regulations or laws that protect internet users and the content that is posted on the web.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-12 1:42:17am
    Yes, we both all agree that there should be more regulations or laws that protect internet users and the content that is posted on the web, but there is probably more that you and I would agree on about the positive opportunities the Internet provides - in education, research, becoming more culturally aware, keeping in contact with family and friends far away, and much more, including spreading the Gospel. I'd suggest you re-read some of the responses I've written above to see how early adapters of technology have been instrumental in developing some of the good parts of the Internet, and are still actively doing that. They include individuals who have written important presentations in this online conference on using and adapting technology. Several are in your parents' generation. In fact, some are in your grandparents' generation.
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    Haley (WLC) 2019-11-11 3:43:55am
    I agree with the problems that the internet can cause and I think you hit some very good points for both sides! The internet holds some very inappropriate content and you can come across it without any warning at any time. It's also a great way to stay connected, like with your closed group on Facebook. One of my professors mentions a website called biblegateway.com and it's great having the bible at your fingertips. Using the internet, in general, can be very beneficial and I really like that you pointed out the problems as well.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-12 1:51:56am
    Thanks for your comments and the reference to an excellent website - biblegateway.com. Another good site to explore is bible.is where you can READ the Bible translated in over 1000 languages, LISTEN to an audio of the Bible dramatized in hundreds of languages, and SEE The Jesus Film. You can even find snippets of the Jesus film to put on your cell phone to show your friends, and as an evangelism tool.
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    Zach McNamer (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-11 7:46:58pm
    This is an extremely important topic. I think the beginning is saddening as you read through all the negatives of the internet and think back to when it was innocent. But, like humans, the internet is ridden with sin. The ability to look past it and see the positives is what I enjoyed reading about. The story of Lorenz Graham is one that would not have been known without the internet or the rogue pipe that could have done damage. The question becomes, how does one become more internet savvy? How can one know all of the different scams and phishing attempts? These types of things should be taught to those who did not grow up with the internet. But it is not just the internet where this occurs as spam calls have become more and more common over the last couple of years. You did a great job of seeing the negatives and the positives but remembering that the internet can be used for good.

    Thank you for your time.
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-12 3:44:10am
    Zach, Your point is well-taken and I appreciate your response. There are many positives of the Internet and it is here to stay (although I've taught in China where some of the "good" is blocked by the government). I hope you don't mind if I adapt at bit from another earlier answer. --- There are some good sites that try to protect people from some of the dark side of the Internet. The only way I can think of to block out all the negativity online Is to turn off your computer;-) Here is some information for parents of young children - most schools have software that blocks some "bad" sites. There are also search engines that are designed just for children. Keep kids away from search engines like the Google you use and teach them how to use the internet appropriately. Google has several versions of kid-safe search engines including GoGooligans which "has a number of important features including: use Google index to retrieve results, apply different kinds of filtering features, excludes inappropriate sites and keywords, offers search in over 30 languages and many more." There are others you may explore online at 11 Great Kids Safe Search Engines https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2018/01/11-great-kids-safe-search-engines.html - . Another on the list of eleven that I'm familiar with is DuckDuckGo with allows "users to search the net without compromising their private and personal information. DuckDuckGo does not store search history, doesn’t run ads, and does not track users." It isn't a bad search engine for adults, too ;-) You probably already subscribe to an email program that has a good spam folder. Learn about cyberbullying. For you, explore sites like http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/Internet-Safety-Tips.pdf - Internet Safety (a government publication). Another good site is Keeping Children Safe Online (updated for 2019) https://tradesmencosts.co.uk/keeping-children-safe-online/.

    There are also sites that try to warn people about what is a scam online. A good one is snopes.com that works very hard to report on scams. A few of the warnings I heed personally - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a post asks you to forward a warning to all of your friends, delete it. It probably isn't true. I also watch email addresses that don't make sense - like one that appears to be offering something that asks me to hit something to click on, but the address ends in an email address that doesn't make sense - often ending with another country. Chances are you are downloading a virus if you click on it. You probably know all that already. A recently updated site on how you can protect yourself on the internet provides good suggestions to remember - https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000507.htm
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    Kendall P (Wisconsin Lutheran College ) 2019-11-11 7:56:46pm
    This was a very interesting article. I love how you describe the pros and cons of the internet, but to me personally the pros outweigh the cons. I personally love the Internet, being from Texas and going to school in Wisconsin, the Internet allows me to stay connected and in touch with friends and family from back home. It also keeps me up-to-date on current event situations around the world and generally expands my knowledge on things I have no clue about.
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    Judith Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-12 3:04:22am
    Kendall, I love the Internet, too, although it took most of my day today working on a PPT for a presentation - a panel I'm organizing with 8 other people around the nation for my national convention in 10 days. But I really can't imagine how I'd manage without it. I also have a daughter that just moved to Texas and was happy to be able to see the new house they just bought by checking the address online a few hours ago and see a video she emailed recently!
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    Ian Starkey, Zach McNamer (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-12 4:01:07am
    I like the way that you wrote out a list of the many negatives that can come from using the internet. All of the issues you mentioned I have either been taught to recognize and avoid, experienced issues with myself, or am aware of friends and family who have been negatively affected. With that being said, I can not think of a time where this many issues were brought up all at once. These issues can become so bad that even our school emails get spammed and hacked multiple times a semester. Aside from the negatives, the ability of keeping connected to friends and relatives spread throughout the world by use of the internet is incredible. I am personally interested in ocean issues and current projects and research being carried out throughout the world and would not have easy access to new information on this topic without access to the internet. Without this quick access to oceanic issues and research I most likely would not be as interested in pursuing a career in marine science.
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    Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-11-12 5:42:50pm
    Ian and Zach - your interest in a career in marine science is commendable (my son has a friend who has a very satisfying career). My own career was chosen before the internet was available, but the Internet definitely impacted my career - I'm a Professor Emerita from MSU, Mankato where I taught for 25 years. When the person who was teaching the courses in fluency disorders (e.g. stuttering) retired I was assigned to take over his courses and clinical supervision. A nation-wide cadre of professors that I contacted through a now defunct Listserv (email list) provided me MUCH support including their syllabi, text suggestions, even lecture notes and assignments to help me develop my course. We also became friends and respected colleagues. Stuttering became my passion and I developed the first internet resource on stuttering, the first online course at my university, annual online conferences on stuttering that reached around the world, was invited to present primarily on stuttering, counseling, and internet resources over 260 times in the U.S. and abroad, published numerous articles in professional and international resources (some written with colleagues around the world as well as in universities throughout the US), was involved in a published international study on stuttering by the NIH, intervened in suicide several times when people who stuttered emailed me personally, was awarded university, state, national, and international awards for my work, and still have many friends around the world - other professionals interested in stuttering as well as individuals living with stuttering. Professionally I was promoted to full professor without a terminal degree (PhD). Without the Internet, NONE of that would have happened. So, personal advice - continue with your research on marine science and find ways to interact (online and in conferences) with others who have your passion. The Internet changed my professional life. It is already leading you in a direction that will change yours as well.
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