The Truth About The Internet
Technology today is growing on a rapid schedule, sometimes so much so that we can’t even keep track of it. It’s rare to see someone that doesn’t have a smartphone in their hand these days. I remember just a few months back celebrating a group text that my grandpa sent on his little flip phone. It’s something so simple that so many of us can’t wrap our heads around these days because we’re all so used to a fast-paced world dominated by the convenience of a text message.
My generation (of which I barely fall into, depending on who you ask) is often scolded and scoffed at because of how we use technology. We’re too dependent on it. It’s taking away our ability to be social. All it’s good for is wasting time. Well, it’s safe to say that I am a little sick of hearing it because I don’t feel like I have a place to say something about it. Unfortunately for some of you, this is my place to say what I feel. Today, we’re going to set a few things straight about those misconceptions surrounding technology use and how the ‘problem’ we have is more of one made by a generational divide. Let’s break it down, one at a time.
We’re too dependent on it.
It is hard to classify the internet as anything outside of a necessity. That’s a hard fact of the world; we’re moving to a paperless, more efficient world. More jobs require the use of technology and the internet. A huge part of my future career revolves around keeping up with the changes. It’s why the net neutrality vote is such a consequential vote. If you are going to exist in the world that’s coming about, you have to use it. There’s no way around that. Besides, the internet and the constant evolution of technology are doing much more than a distraction. Some use their technology to curate new interests, something that they would have never tried without seeing it in passing. Just last week, I tried coding my own Choose Your Own Adventure game because I found a tutorial online (it didn’t work, and I won’t be publishing it anywhere). We use these devices to find hobbies and to watch documentaries and TV shows that stroke our interests.
It’s taking away our social skills.
Every generation struggles to understand their soon-to-be replacement because they adapt to the current culture to create one of their own. Maybe that’s why this myth, that technology is killing our social skills, upsets me. If people would take one moment to look at how the newest generation communicates, they would see something unprecedented. Millenials, and the generation that follows, have created a new language to serve our needs. We’ve created a tone when writing that has opened avenues of online conversation that means something. What some see as the destruction of communication is actually the formation of a system that takes it to a new level. We are communicating with more people, on a massive scale, than we ever have before.
All it’s good for is wasting time.
The biggest misconception is that the use of technology is a waste of time because none of us see it that way. Rarely do I waste my time. I think my time and energy and focus are valuable. If you see me on my phone or laptop I am probably working on a story. I may be creating more content to post so that I can build a following. I’m updating my website, one that I build and maintain on my own. I’m researching, working, studying, reading. These things might not matter to you and that’s why you see them as a waste. They matter to me. Writing, creating, and building makes me happy. I am not the only person who feels that way. There are so many talented people who are using their internet access and technology to share their gifts with the world. What we do online is no different than crocheting, scrapbooking, building out in the garage, or a hundred other hobbies you enjoy. We do these things because they matter to us. That isn’t time wasted.
When you watch me while I’m working and mischaracterize it to suit your narrative, you create the problem that you see. When you assume that I am another mindless young adult attached to her phone or laptop, you miss so much about me. You miss so much about the world around by viewing an entire generation that way. Like everything, there are some people who take their internet use too far. Don’t lump an entire generation into that pool when you see us on our phones. Sit down with me, ask what I’m working on. I am still capable of carrying on a conversation while I’m working. There’s nothing wrong with internet use or technological advances, as long as you work hard to understand a perspective outside of your own.