Image by Summer Skyes

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 12.25.18 AM

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.

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The creator of Rants of an AP Student. A boy. A blog. And a laptop. I'm your everyday hipster who loves blogging, and promoting social awareness to the world. I'm an activist, an honours student, a blogger, and your everyday all love and free kind of guy.

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