Can we Survive the Internet?

By Kaleb Warnock

It seems to me that despite our immersion in the media and technology, people of my generation are afraid of what social change technology may bring. From my short examination of technology and media and its reception in the classroom, it is very apparent that many students here at Iowa State University approach emerging technology and change with skeptical trepidation.

Why does such a “wired” generation such as my own fear this change? One theory I have is that we are caught in the middle ground between the older, more optimistic generation, and the technological natives of the youth. “Kids these days” is the archetypal term for young people that are riding the wave of change that seemingly ebbs and flows with the coming of every new generation. These “kids” are often referenced by my colleges here at Iowa State, although most of us lie within the 18 to 21 demographic.

How has this drastic difference emerged? It seems that there is a major gap between children born just a decade apart. As you may have guessed, technology is to blame. As pejorative as that may have sounded, this examination is not to condemn it, simply hear me out to the end of my discussion.

It seems that children have a touch screens thrust into their hands at a very young age and information titans like Wikipedia have liked their little minds directly to an immense wealth of information not previously available to their parents. This user-friendly phenomena is at the finger tips of anyone with access to a computer and is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, a library card, or even a cell phone.

How then has this gab between kids emerged? Well, young people (very young people for anyone over 25) have been born into this touchscreen world; he internet is commonplace. For people my age, we were introduced to the internet when we were young (10 years old myself) and have been around to watch it evolve and can even remember a time before it existed as a staple in household communication.

However, these children may not be able to remember a time without the internet and could even go as far as to believe it as a necessity to human interaction and existence. This, of course, is purely speculative. I am not an authority on social technology or a child psychologist, so I cannot be completely certain. I was a child much more recently than many of those addressing these problems, so I feel that I have some sort of an unobstructed frame of reference.

Do I have a solution? No. Currently many journalists like myself are scrambling to get ahead of this and ride in the revolution to avoid being trampled by the youth that is already ahead of myself and more perhaps even more literate in the world that is to come.

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