Monday, September 19, 2011


I am a child of a technological age. I have been on the computer my whole life and using it is as easily as drawing a breath. My teachers don't write on chalkboards but they write on smartboards; they often give us assignments that require the use of a computer and I have handed in an assignment through the computer. I have had whole conversations with another person where I have not even heard their voice and I have even once had a conversation where I had seen their body movements and heard their voice when they were miles away from me.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? After being bombarded with assignments and projects that do require a lot of technology, I am beginning to wonder this. My parents would probably tell you that it is generally a negative thing (after all the kids of their generation didn't have nearly the same levels of obesity and stress that today's kids do).

We do learn differently than our parents did, that's for sure. Our daily lives are also much different than theirs were and so our hobbies and forms of expression. We do not know anything else so this is our normal. We do not feel as if we are missing out on something or that this is detrimental to us because we just don't know any other way.

There are plenty of articles out there about the harm of Facebook and technology and whatever but I bet that most of them are written by journalists my mom's age whose very jobs are at stake as the newspaper industry is dying. Coming from the point of view of a teenager, I think that someone ought to hear the positive things about it too.

For one, it's a lot easier to talk to someone and to keep in touch with someone with today's technology. A person can get a text at any time so even if they aren't there they can answer back later. With phones you have to leave a voice message and not everyone really checks them (at least not frequently). Also mail also takes days to send while e-mails arrive in somebody's account in instants.

Today's generation also has cell phones. Sure there will always be kids who misuse them or use them too much but cell phones are really incredibly liberating. Without cell phones, we wouldn't be able to do half of what we are allowed to do. In my parents' age, kids were given the freedom to roam. Today the ability to access media has made parents a lot more aware of pedophiles than they were before and that same paranoia has spread itself to other areas of our lives (they also think about us getting hit by cars or getting lost or whatever, which I admit are actually rational concerns).

And of course there is the obvious benefit of technology in that it makes things that much more convenient and easier to use. Most teenagers have had to hear our parents nag about how easy they have it and what they had to do when they were their age. Instead of having to lug around eight track tapes and record albums, we have iPods. When we're bored, we have more than three channels to choose from on TV. We also can entertain ourselves in a variety of ways.

Of course, as so many adults like to tell us, there are admittedly drawbacks to technology.

People do abuse it and our generations faces unique problems because of people doing so. Sexting and cyberbullying were issues that my parents never had to deal with and issues that law enforcement is just learning how to handle. There is also, of course, the classic image of a teenage girl texting while having a conversation with her parents and there are kids who text a lot.

Because of texting abbreviations, many of my generation lack the grammar and spelling skills of their parents and sometimes lack the ability to communicate face-to-face as well (though many of those kids probably wouldn't have been as great without texting anyway).

I also think that technology has made my generation less patience. Being used to having things appear in instants, it's hard to wait for things. This is especially true for me.

A lot of kids have become super-dependent on things like video games and TVs and computers (me).

Technology has also made up this exclusive world almost. My best friend and I are the only people I know at my school who do not have a Facebook. I'm not allowed to have a Facebook (to be perfectly honest however the real reason that I don't actively use Facebook is because it's been boring when I've been on it with friends and I've figured it isn't worth the risks) and she chooses not to have one. I almost feel that I'm missing out on an entire world as I hear my friends talk about what happened on Facebook that night or what's been posted on their walls.

This is an interesting topic and it's one that I don't have all of the answers for. However much we may try to deny it or change it, the world is a constantly changing place and we can do nothing about that. I can only imagine the world thirty years ago.

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