Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Modern Society and Technology has Influenced the Younger Generation

Typed two days ago and finished today:

I've been doing some thinking today. Thinking about how society, and more specifically technology, has influenced people. Some of those people include people close to me and that's what I will mostly talk about in this blog post.

So, the first one is my sister. I'd say she is a stereotypical teenager at twelve. Yes, twelve. She just got into middle school. Technology has made her, I believe, less creative and motivated than she used to be.

Ever since she got a computer (and then an iPhone) it's always been Facebook, instant messaging, Instagram and it never stops. I'll see her texting four people at once and constantly scrolling through pages of photos on Instagram or scrolling down to the depths of Facebook while on the phone with one of her friends. And this is a lot.

Too much.

I feel like she needs to put down the phone and actually focus on us sometimes. It's not that she doesn't talk to us or that she ignores us, but she's just always on it. When I'm out with my family, friends, and (especially) girlfriend I rarely, if ever, look at or check my phone. It makes the other person think, "Hey, this person is paying attention to me, thus I'll pay attention to him and talk to him". This is good. It enables conversation and promotes doing things together. Like yesterday, I went to a friends house with another friend. We played the piano together, played Super Smash Bros together (notice, this includes technology but we are all doing it together and conversing at the same time; it's actually quite funny and conversation inducing), played cards together, looked at a turtle, and ate cookies. And it was fun just with the people!

My sister, however, spends most of the time with her friend in her room, listening to music, texting, going on Facebook, etc. Do you notice what's familiar about these activities? They were the ones that I mentioned above that you could do alone. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't do with your friends from time to time, but when you're with them you should focus mostly on them because with technology, it's a gateway to others.

She used to do more: go to the park with her friends, play Pokémon with them, paint, go horseback riding, do things that not only benefited her by spending and connecting with others, but benefitting the person at the other end.

Another example with sort of the same problem is my friends Mason and Merritt. Mason and Merritt recently have each acquired an iPad. That's great; I love my iPad and it's been an amazing device since I got mine about one and a half years ago. But, when you spend every second on it, it can have the opposite effect of being amazing. They will go to Instagram, then to Snapchat, then too some multiplayer biking game, then to a text conversation, and then literally repeat the process again a minute later while me and my other friend are in the room.

This is too much.

They are focusing on the iPad and others instead of on me, my other friend, and his twin (Mason and Merritt are twins). They are somewhat addicted to this and I know how this feels. Before these iPads, we'd do more stuff as a group and it was mostly fun. Now, it's just annoying.

I might be bringing up extreme cases but you have to realize that this is happening to three people close to me. It's just scary to think that if a good majority of the people I'm close to are being affected by this, how is it affecting the rest of the younger generation?

Also, this technology is literally taking up our lives. I don't think Chloe, Mason, or Merritt have any sort of productive hobby (I know Mason is in cross country but other than that I don't know). I think people should have something that they can share with the world or "show off". For me it's my writing (including this blog), my music, my videos, and Twitter feed. I feel like I'm enriching peoples lives with those things; sharing my thoughts and opinions with the world. Mason, Merritt, and Chloe are not enriching the lives of others or contributing to anything but rather doing things for themselves. Sure, posting on Instagram can be good (it can be relatable to posting things on Twitter) but if that's all you have, I think you need something a little bit more sophisticated to share with the world. Another example is my girlfriend, @Rainbow_Foxy on Twitter. She posts art on FurAffinity and has a pretty successful Twitter account. She is sharing her thoughts, opinons, and emotions with the world and I like that about her.

Am I saying that they need to start putting in hours at the homeless shelter and start learning the trumpet? No, but they have to do something with their lives other than just pleasing their friends and the people around them. They need to contribute something to others, I believe. Maybe they're not ready for that yet, but they need to start thinking about it soon.

And this is affecting not only the people around me, but the younger generation. They are becoming less motivated, I believe, and strive for less. They accept things with less quality. I saw this great picture on FailBlog that said something like:

"90's Kids -
Rebels: Didn't do well in school, listed to bad music, etc.
Regular Kids: Did well in school, had a good future, etc.

Kid's Today -
Rebels: Do well in school, have good future, etc.
Regular Kids: Don't do well in school, listen to bad music, etc."

I think this is slightly true. It has become more normal to be less than best. This needs to change. Although not all of the blame is on technology, it's a big factor. I could write more about this (and maybe I will in the future) but this is what I have to say for now. I know this isn't as organized as it could be but I hope you get my point: connect with the people that you like around you and don't connect with others. Do something productive that does not only benefit you in a way, but can benefit lots of others. Something as simple as posting things on a blog or posting art is something that I consider to be enriching society.

Thanks for reading,

- Aidan


  1. As an equivalent to being a senior in secondary school, I find this to be very true and a scary occurrence. I know I can be just like that: paying attention to a computer and virtual friends and what I'm doing on it - far more than my friends who are around me and actually tangible. An inadvertent side affect to technology, and will this trend only get worse?

    1. Hopefully not. Although I love technology and how it's been evolving, I frown upon this aspect and I hope it won't become the norm of society.