Posts Tagged ‘Youth & Technology’

Ms. DeMayo’s post below marks the end of my mini-series highlighting teens and technology in their own words (unless I receive late entries). My genuine thanks to all who have dropped by to read their thoughts, and, of course, to Abbey, Chayce, and Alicia, who took the time to write the posts!

Alicia Triassi-DeMayo
My name is Alicia Triassi-DeMayo. I’m a freshman at Ironwood High School in Peoria, AZ, where I am enrolled in honors algebra and english. I really enjoy music and have an itch to be a fashion designer.

Technology impacts us everyday. What would we possibly do without it?

Technology now can be used for job searches, social networking, finding locations, making purchases or even just looking for the definiton of a word, all by using the internet or with the touchscreen of a cellphone. Computers seem to do everything for us nowadays, as if they are more intellectual than people. Many people rely on the internet to do spellchecking, working from home, even online schooling.

I’m thinking this matter is pathetic on some level, but it may also be a good thing. For example, take job searching—you do not have a vehicle to arrive at a certain place you are wanting to get a job application at. Therefore, you must use the internet to search for your preferred job and print out the application from there. Seems simple, doesn’t it?

Online school also plays an active role in our increasingly digital lives. Say you get expelled from school and you prefer to take online classes. Much easier than getting up at five or six in the morning and spending 7 hours straight in class! We also rely on calculators to do our mathematical work and spellcheck for our misspelled words.

Although technology gives us many advantages it can also prove to be the opposite. May I submit the 800-pound-gorilla, the gatekeeper between the good and the bad—our addiction, social networking. This includes Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. Many of the users who join Facebook are just looking for some small-talk, while others are looking for the unmentionable. Social networking is a great way to meet people whom you never would have otherwise.The bad part is the impact people have on it. It becomes an obsession, some weird fetish. For some it spirals into a mindset of virtual oneupmanship, that Facebook or Myspace can be this epic battle: Who has the most friends or “My default picture is better than yours!” People like this go out of their way to make the online world contentious, hurting other people’s feelings. Some of the people who are getting hurt may also share the same obsession and become even more aggressive on these sites. Then once they get their account hacked, they have a mental breakdown.

Personal tech is not just a way of life for teens, it’s front-and-center every day. It is, and always has been, the world as we’ve known it. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that we prefer, overwhelmingly, to text someone than to call them, to update our Facebook news feed or tweet the latest rumor . . . “OMG! Did u hear what Sherry said about Becky’s butt in those jeans?” For us, the ties that bind extend from our fingertips more than anything else.

We are evolving as a bridge between the birth of technology our parents grew up with and the gazelle pace it has today. In ten years time our approach may be different, perhaps altered by maturity, but our dependence on it will most likely be just as strong.


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My name is Chayce Nicklaus. I attend Desert Ridge High School as a junior. My number one hobby, easily, is playing baseball. I plan on going into sports medicine when I graduate from college.

Kids these days take their many forms of technology, whether it be their cell phone, laptop, or computer, for granted. They don’t know what kind of knowledge and power they hold in their hands. Only a couple decades ago phones were bricks and were definitely not capable of what they are now; technology has evolved significantly since then. Nowadays people can simply use their camera and have a video chat with someone across the world in a matter of seconds.

Social interactions have decreased greatly because of the many forms of communication available to the population. Instead of actually going face-to-face and talking with someone, the internet has provided a blockade.

Of course a great example of this is Facebook. However, I have no room to argue because I, too, am part of that same group. I first started talking to my girlfriend on the prevailing social network. I probably wouldn’t have had the balls to talk to her in person if it wasn’t for Facebook—in this instance the ‘social’ part of Facebook was to my benefit.

Equally relevant, most everyone I know at school uses Facebook way more than myself. It is actually quite sickening to see what some of these kids post. Unfortunately some of my peers don’t have the common sense to know right from wrong but hey, “we’re just teenagers.” That’s their excuse. Thank goodness I don’t call them my friends because they just seem to love to share their stories and pictures of “getting wasted” or “s***faced.” Quite frankly, I feel no remorse for these morons. In some cases suspensions and expulsions have been issued to these same idiots because they have been caught by teachers and other school faculty with fake profiles trying to act like one of “us.” I think these social networks and technologies also give some a false sense of empowerment because they can remain hidden or feel safe behind their keyboards while trying to cause problems and start trouble. We like to use the term cyber-bullying. It’s sad, because some of these kids’ actions and horrible comments have driven teenagers to suicide or to commit heinous crimes.

Having these networks, of course, has its positives and negatives. Yeah, you get to interact with friends and family but on the other hand, those bullies get a greater playing field. One of the major negatives is the ability of pedophiles and child molesters to have access to younger adolescents’ profiles by simply making a fake profile to make themselves seem like they’re a kid. Perhaps, the creators of these expansive technologies weren’t keeping the esoteric nature of humans in mind, couldn’t foresee such problems when looked at it from a perspective of programming. This exemplifies how many more ways technology can be used negatively in the wrong hands.

Technology is improving at an alarming rate. This can certainly be a good thing, with more ways of advancing medical research and cures for diseases. But the thing I fear the most is: what if technology gets too advanced. There are supercomputers that can interpret information in milliseconds But what if those computers artificially evolved a ‘mind’ of their own? An impulse to think? We could be very well outnumbered and could be in danger if these took over the human race. Of course, the chances of that are probably way low so i shouldn’t be worried, but it can make you think, can’t it?

In conclusion, technology is and will keep improving over time, the question is can we keep up with it?

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Youth using technology

Consider, for one moment, the text you are currently reading. Really.

Sit back for a second and try not to read the words as much as look at them. Are you looking at them upon a flat-screen monitor, or perhaps from the technological marvel of a smartphone? Maybe from a laptop, perched at the kitchen counter, sitting in your favorite chair, or propped up in bed?

Now, take a moment to consider your surroundings. I’d bet there are, at minimum, two other gadgets within view—maybe a television, a Kindle or Nook, an iPod, a digital camera, another cell phone.

While these things seem substantially obvious, even absurdly so, they all point to a common denominator which we don’t quickly identify with: our innate need to be connected. Even the coffee machine on the counter speaks not just to our need to wake up, but as a centerpiece for many a social life.

That’s on an individual level, within our own personal sphere of influence or proximity. Expand your imagination perhaps one more degree to the local or community level where you may have neighborhood or town newsletters to stay abreast of what those around you are doing. One more degree to the national stage and we have radio, television, cable, all these outlets that bombard us with information day in and day out.

Now, step back again and think about what technology has completely wrapped itself around all of these?

Did you think of the internet?

From GPS to our cell phones, to streaming radion stations and network feeds, and instant news captured by video phones. We literally walk about, every day, immersed in digitalia.

Back in January 2011, as I listened to news about the uprising in Tunisia, I was struck by how pathetic the attempts made by the government were to cut off access to media and the internet; too often government—our own republic included—fails to account for sheer human will. Such governments, many tyrannical dictatorships, rely on keeping their populace uneducated—essentially a political form of sanctioned stupidity. If the people don’t know any better then they are certainly more apt to believe whatever a regime sees fit to feed it as truth. Large swathes of the Middle East make this profusely clear.

But many of their youth travel abroad to get an education they can’t possibly dream of getting at home. They attend universities in Europe and here in America. They quickly become enamored with our freedoms and prosperity. They are given a chance to see the world as it truly is without the shroud of a theocracy dictating what they should think and feel. Youth, well versed in the binary arts, become a force of mind and power.

Utilizing Facebook and a smartphone they organize rallies and protests. They grasp the veil of ignorance and try to extirpate its white-knuckled grip upon their countrymen. They find a way, even when internet access is locked down, to get word out.

And look at the effect it has had . . .

Tunisia has fallen and an interim government set up in hopes of establishing a more free and transparent kind of system. Egypt has ousted its long-time dictators. As I write this the people of Libya are desperately trying to break the grasp of one of history’s most astute buffoons in Muammar Gaddafi. Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria are currently dealing with roiling discontent of their own. These things are not just news items. These happenings are nothing short of a digital crusade in a land that long has suppressed the Natural Rights of humanity while hoisting the banner of strict adherence to ascetic principles of God; natural rights are considered to be divinely inherent, gifts which each human are born with, therefore the two cannot be treated as mutually exclusive.

Youth are driving this almost cataclysmic change, and doing so by the powers vested in them via technology and education.

I wondered how American youth perceive this power, or if they give the slightest thought to it whatsoever. I put an ad on Craigslist and eBay asking if any were interested in sharing their thoughts in a guest post. I received a number of inquiries, but to date I have received only three guest posts. You will be reading these three over the next week. I wanted to widen the scope of the matter to include not just global events but also the interactive aspect of technology and how it affects relationships, both familial and external.

If you know of someone who would like to participate then let me know! The responses I have received are all from Arizona; would be interesting to get a larger demo-geographic slice of opinion.

Please be sure to come back and see what the next generation has to say about the technology that powers their everyday lives—Abbey Wells, Alicia Triassi-DeMayo, and my son Chayce may just surprise you with how connected they are to both the virtual and real worlds.

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