A Look Through the Digital Networked Teen of the 21st Century

“It has become appallingly obvious that technology has exceeded our humanity.” -Albert Einstein

 

Can I say that I cannot live without my laptop, tablet and cell phone? I am your everyday teen whose live is connected all over the web and I’m not the only one. Yesterday, I was thinking about the time when I was given free time on my break at school and all I could do was tweet about teachers and classes, update and like statuses on Facebook, re-blog on Tumblr, make Pinterest content, and make blog post like this on WordPress. Sounds obsessive doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say that I was sucked into when I was about thirteen years old when I received my first iPhone and I’ve been stuck to it ever since. And today, that’s what I want to talk about, my many thoughts on this trend that seems to be permanent and the pinnacle of technology of this world, the digital age.

 

Getting plugged in
I was about six years old when my parents bought the whole family a desktop. It was actually recommended by the school that I had accessed to a computer for school work therefore, I was instructed to learn and work on the computer ever since that time. You can say that I grew up with the computer and that its second nature for me, and possibly you’re right! Comparing myself and to my parents, there’s a huge gap line when it comes to computer logic. If you’ve ever been in the situation of watching your parents type slow or them asking your questions involving the most ridiculously basic actions on the computer and other technological device then you know what I’m taking about. Since then I was always curious to why my parents were (and still) not fast when it comes to the most common thing known to the world, until I started high school.
When I first got into high school about two years ago, I was required to take a class involving media and I was required to work on the tablet called the iPad. The central objective of the course is to be proficient in the world and language of technology, you know like touch typing (typing without the need to look at the keyboard, coding & programming, etc. But the most memorable unit was on the difference between a digital native and a newbie into the digital world. We watched a film by PBS Frontline called : Digital Nation, which taught me and answered my many questions on why there’s this huge obvious difference between me and my parents.
Want to watch the documentary called Digital Nation? Clicker here to go to PBS Frontline watch.
The film outlines that in our world, we all are part of this scale called the demographical shift. Since the early 1800’s we made life easier by inventing new ways of technology that will benefit society. People are living longer because, farmers are now able to plant and produce more food withe the aid of new tools and biochemical inventions. This applies to technology as well. A long time ago, it was a dream to be able to have many books to read for entertainment without running space on your shelf, with kindle, e-readers and even tablets with book reading features have now taken the bookworm population with glee.
Now going back to the demographic shift and the difference between myself and my family, lies the fundamental truth that not everyone in the world are at the same spot on the demographical shift scale. Developed countries are more higher up therefore computer usage with other technological devices are the norm and the people who use them are digital natives. Developing countries on the other hand are still trying to overcome economic drought yet, are still expanding their knowledge of the web and their potential for computing advances. This is the reason why I have more logic when it comes to computers than other people.
This takes a strong toll in my part as I know that I was born in the year of 1998 therefore, my developing years took place where the internet became more and more popular and that social networking sites became stronger and more usable than ever.
The film also takes in the negative aspect of being a digital native, which I quickly recognized as I too have this digital native habits. Multi-tasking, obsession and sleep deprivation are the common cohorts of my kind and the documentary really puts emphasis that because society lives in a fast paced world filled with everything digital, technology grabbed a permanent marker or a tattoo needle and just permanently left its mark on the world to see. I for one has to say that this is true. I mean that in way that I can’t really get my regular nine hours that I need and settle for five hours instead because, my phone and my laptop are always on my priorities. Although, when I tried my best to overcome these obstacles and unplug myself from anything digital, I found life to be more easier and that I was able to enjoy the world instead of worrying about what was going on the screen.
You are what you like
Liking a post, a status, a tweet then re-tweeting or re-blogging are the common implies that someone likes your content. I recently watched another documentary on how teens and their obsession on liking things on the web has really taken the digital world by storm and that corporations are using this to their advantage. PBS Frontline: Generation Like shows how “liking” can show corporations what the digital nation want in order to improve their company. It’s like saying that hitting that “like” button is like a currency for popularity and that we as human beings feel good about that. In the film, they discuss that a “like” is equivalent to digital currency and that this can lead to more people to discover you, as most people may feel, having a lot of people liking and loving your stuff makes you feel powerful.
Unknowingly to us, companies out there with social media accounts can turn that artificial “like” currency to actually currency. When you like a certain content on their page, they treat it as like a poll and will use it to improve their company’s services and merchandise. If you want to take a look at the documentary to learn more about this issue click here.
Teens & their lives on the web
Now focusing on how my kind, teenagers, are so tight-knit with social networking, we come through an array in terms of different perspectives that shows the acrimony of how social media has changed teenagers forever. In the previous paragraphs, I mentioned to you all that even though that technology is very beneficial, there are also some set-backs. One of these setbacks is the dependency to use it n everyday life, this includes interactions between people.
Texting, e-mailing, voice messaging, etc. are the common uses for this. Now here’s the deal, I’ve never step foot out my door to go to my friend’s house ever since my mother bought me my first laptop. Shocking isn’t it? For most of us this is the reality. Why run our the door to talk when you can just leave Facebook messages on your computer? I realized this when I read this article on Macleanss site called “The secret lives of networked teens.” This talks about an interview with Danah Boyd who is an academic at Harvard and New York universities and is noted to be the most influential voices in technology. I want you to take a look at one of the interview questions and her answer.

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She speaks about that it’s a way of dealing with spatial or temporal differences and that with technology it’s the way for us teens to fix that void. And yes it’s true. If my friends don’t answer my call then I would just leave them a message to find. Due to this, If find that there’s a big psychological problem with this. I find that because, we have to wait for a reply or know that we’re going to get incoming texts and messages that we won’t be able to put them down. So we as a society has made a big mistake or that we abused our privileges.
A simple solution to this would be just to put our phones down but, that may be a little too impossible. Think about it. Many of our family and friends use them and society makes it the norm to have mobile devices with us. That means we’re expected to use technology in the first place. Just like what Albert Einstein has said, “It has become appallingly obvious that technology as exceeded our humanity.”
You can now get the big picture that us teens are just “puppets” in this situation and that our life on the web is taking up more than our lives outside. Down below is a video about the “What if?” type of thing if we as a society didn’t value mobile devices for communication and that the opportunities could just be there when we look up from our screens.

Back to School Safety

It’s always best for every child regardless of age to be safe when they’re at school. Whatever the cost may be.

To all parents out there, it must be tough (or easy in a challenging way; whatever comes to mind) when you have to get up early to make breakfast, pack their lunch, get their stuff together, making sure that they’re brushing their teeth, etc. All the while, trying to beat the clock till the school bell rings and dings. Yeah, I bet that this must be an excruciating routine to do everyday but, in the end you’re happy that they’re back to school making their future’s brighter than the sun. Although, after dropping them off or waving goodbye at the school bus stop, do you ever think if it’s final? That maybe you may never see them ever again and that mad circus morning routine was your last moment together? I know that must be a nightmare but, it does happen to people and that it’s your job as the parent to lay some rules or remind them of the common mistakes of back to school danger.
Let's flashback to the good, the bad and the ugly
Last year at the beginning of my sophomore year, a teenage girl in Wrinkler, Manitoba was fatally hit by a speeding vehicle after school near the school grounds of Northlands Parkway Collegiate. If you want to read more about this click here.
After her death, government officials legalized that speed limits must be close to 30 k/h or lower when near the opening and closing time of all schools or academic institutions.
Now what can we learn from this? I know that it sounds rather cliche but, remember that old saying by your folks? The one that goes like this, “always look both ways before crossing the street dear.” I know that it must be annoying to constantly say that to your kids but, at least they’re getting the message! So when the time does come (which is almost everyday for many students who walk to school) they’re always prepared to take safety precautions when crossing the street. And on the side note, teach them the rules of the crosswalk, you know the ones with the patrols, lights, cars, etc. Just to get a refresher. You can never be too safe.
Now focusing on the other side of the pedestrian corridor are the new novice drivers of the road (oh my!). I recently got my driver’s licence and even though that I’m now a young man cursing the road, I still have the responsibility like all other drivers. So maybe try to have an open comment conversation with your teenage daughter or son about your expectations regarding the safety of themselves, their passengers, and other people across the road. Remember to keep in mind the even though they may have passed the test, they’re still young and when you’re young you can still do some idiotic stuff. Just remind them of the consequences of what the role of a good driver is.
Now the final note, don’t do the whole “talk but no walk” act because as the parent you are the role model for your kids, and that their decisions can be influenced by you. Remember this “Children see and children do, so please parents don’t be stupid fool.” Keep it, lock it, and stick it to your pocket, and now you’re done.
Other common precautions to know
  1.  Stranger Danger: “If mom and dad don’t know, don’t go.” These very words were taught to me by a policeman when I was just in first grade. And I still somehow stuck to it even now. I would recommend to show your little youngsters some easy to watch resources concerning this issue. I’ve here one of my top choices to handling this safety pre-caution.
  2. Cyber Safety: Let’s face it, the role is different now compared to a few decades ago. Smartphones, tablet and laptops oh my! Yes, in this generation social media and technology is the most strongest trend for most teens and tweens. I would like to take some time to re-call the suicidal incident of Amanda Todd due to constant cyber-bulling. If you want to know more about this issue click here, if not then continue reading. Due to the convenience of having a mobile device with you, a perpetrator’s harmful intentions will also be in the back of your pocket so, please teach your teens to be techno wise, so in the long run they’re going to handle the situation or even avoid it with ease.
  3. Insurance: You can never be too careful so making sure that your child has insurance for the unexpected is beneficial! If your school offers this service sign up for it! It may save your young one’s life in a give or take moment. There may be schools where this may not be covered so it’s always best to ask questions directly to whom the issue is concerned.
Have a great school year
With safety first as a priority, your child can now enjoy their months of endless learning and fun with care when you have safety as a priority. Just remember, if things do start to get out of hand there are emergency numbers and groups that are willing to help. Have a great school year and don’t forget. Be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

This Man Saved 6,000 Jews – Chiune Sugihara – An Unsung Hero

If you think that Oscar Schindler or Meep were the only heroes who saved Jews during the holocaust think again. Let me introduce you to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved 6000 jews.

Kindness Blog

Chiune Sugihara (杉原 千畝 Sugihara Chiune?, 1 January 1900 – 31 July 1986

Chiune Sugihara (杉原 千畝 Sugihara Chiune?, 1 January 1900 – 31 July 1986

45 years after the Soviet invasion of Lithuania, Chiune was asked his reasons for issuing visas to the Jews. Sugihara explained that the refugees were human beings, and that they simply needed help.

“You want to know about my motivation, don’t you? Well. It is the kind of sentiments anyone would have when he actually sees refugees face to face, begging with tears in their eyes. He just cannot help but sympathize with them. Among the refugees were the elderly and women. They were so desperate that they went so far as to kiss my shoes, Yes, I actually witnessed such scenes with my own eyes. Also, I felt at that time, that the Japanese government did not have any uniform opinion in Tokyo. Some Japanese military leaders were just scared because of the pressure from the Nazis…

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How teachers can best use TED Talks in class, from the perspective of a student

At my high school, we always use TED videos to give us a change of thought and I think that it’s well worth the time spent in class.

TED Blog

What happens when a teacher mixes Madame Bovary and a TED Talk? Good things, actually. Photo: iStockphoto What happens when a teacher mixes Madame Bovary and a TED Talk? Good things, actually. Photo: iStockphoto

By Olivia Cucinotta

My high school English class had just finished reading Madame Bovary, and we were all confused. (For those of you who have not read it, please skip to paragraph two. Spoiler alert!) Emma Bovary, a listless housewife in search of the passionate love she’s read about in books, has many sordid affairs, falls deeply into debt and kills herself by swallowing arsenic, and her ever-faithful and terribly dull husband Charles dies a while later of a broken heart, and their daughter, upon finding her father dead, is sent to work in a cotton mill. We were all baffled and upset by the end of this intense, complicated novel. When we arrived in class the next day, our teacher asked us the question: “What can we learn about real love…

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The Love of a Mother and Her 3 Year-old Daughter, who Were Attacked With Acid by Their Husband/Father

To all activist who are involved with human civil rights concerning women’s freedom and better laws, please read this teary blog post about life for a mother (29) and her daughter (3) after being attacked with acid by their husband/father. I, for one, is just disgusted by the fact that someone would even think about doing that. Yet, in the midst of this tragedy, the mother and daughter are still alive and are happy to be together. It’s a heart warming story to read but, it’s tough lesson is bestowed upon us, so please do think about the fact of the matter.

Kindness Blog

Somayeh Mehri (29) and Rana Afghanipour (3) are a mother and daughter living in Bam, southern Iran.

They were attacked with acid by Somayeh’s husband Amir.

Somayeh Mehri (29) with her daughter Rana Afghanipour Somayeh Mehri (29) and her daughter Rana Afghanipour (3) give each other a kiss. Since their disfigurement in an acid attack, they say, others don’t like to kiss them.

Somayeh had frequently been beaten and locked up by her husband, and finally found the courage to ask for a divorce. Amir warned her that if she persisted in her attempts to leave him, she would not live out life with the face she had.

One night in June 2011, he poured acid on Somayeh and Rana as they slept. Somayeh’s and Rana’s faces, hands, and, in places, their bodies were severely burned. Somayeh was blinded, and Rana lost one of her eyes.

Somayeh Mehri (29) and Rana Afghanipour

Somayeh’s father sold his land in order to raise money to pay…

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Winnipeg’s Finest: Stella’s Cafe & Bakery

“Stella’s… Inspired taste & healthy ingredients. The right way.”

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Upon reading that first line from their “Our Story” page on their website, I was convinced that Stella’s cafe is the one of Winnipeg’s own finest cafés in the city. I mean, they’ve been known for their best breakfast meals throughout the whole city. In fact, they’ve expanded and opened at least seven more restaurants.
More than just a coffee shop

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When I first heard about Stella’s Cafe & Bakery I, in the beginning, wasn’t really into the whole getting up in the morning or taking a break form school/work to just buy a latté. Yet, when I had my first Stella’s latté I was eventually hooked and I didn’t dare go back to Tim’s or Starbucks to say the least. Ironic isn’t it? Even while I was in Vegas, I was still craving for the taste of Stella’s Café Americano. Then somewhere along the way, I was ordering more than just a basic latté, I started having breakfast meals too.
I wasn’t aware that they served things from breakfast meals, sandwiches, hot/cold beverages to soups or deserts! So Stella’s really is an all well-rounded restaurant if you ask me! I even thought about bringing a girl on a date their since their salads are to die for! If you are in the mood for a late night bite, then I would recommend the roasted ratatouille for $12. 95 and if you’re one of those morning types try the Mexican Breakfast (Also available for those Vegan lovers too).
Not sure what else you want? Click here for their full menu.
My top 3 locations
If you’re really into the whole traveling aspect without actually travelling, then go to the Richardson Airport on the second floor near International departure. On the side note, this is where I had my first Stella’s latté

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If you’re more of the go to type of person who likes hanging out with their friends, try the one on  116 Sherbrooke Street.

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And last but not least, if you’re somewhat of the shy type and you really don’t like going out but just loves Stella’s, then I would advice you to use the delivery system on 166 Osborne Street but, if you do get over that shyness then just drive over there and try it!

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Currently the only two locations that offers delivery ware Stella’s Osborne and Stella’s Grant. If you need more information then click here.
A Winnipeg Native
It’s a trademark of Winnipeg I have to say and I think that it represents our city quite well! I’m proud to say they made an everlasting mark on this city in the world of over caffeinated human beings and I’m just one person who first became a customer and now a long living fan. And I hope that goes for you too. So don’t be shy just try.