Are you a digital native? (Blog #19)

This is a response to another blogpost.
This blogpost is a response to a Frontline documentary "Growing Up Online"

This blogpost is a response to a documentary "Growing Up Online"

If you’re reading this blogpost right now, you most probably know enough about the internet to search anything you want. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Myspace, MSN, AIM. Our lives as modern teenagers are surrounded by these inernet utilities that we use everyday. They have even become culture-specific. While America has Yahoo and Myspace, Korea has its Naver and Cyworld, fitted to the Korean culture with different styles of advertisements, news and design. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine not to have access to internet, computer, or technology of any form. How would it feel to be “unplugged?”

I believe that much of the technology use may be seen as a state of addiction, with a potential power to harm. It is useful in many ways in that it allows us to do many things that would take much longer if we did without. It facilitates the experiences of meeting new people, typing up long papers and more. Being a digital native, it would be difficult to live without technology, but it’s entirely possible. Pick up a book or two. Go outside to exercise. Meet friends offline. Go watch a movie. Sure, it is much harder to do it than say it, but it is possible. As for me, I would just have to be plugged at least once a day, at least through my laptop. There are necessities that have become so crucial and important that I can’t do things without. Checking my e-mail, getting updates on friends abroad, and simply checking what my homework is.

As soon as I come back home either right after school, after my activities, or after tutoring late at night, I would do three things for sure. First: sit. Second: Open Internet Browser. Third: open two pages that would be permanently be left on my computer screen–Gmail and Facebook. The routine is so engraved in my daily life that it would almost be impossible to disconnect myself from all media. The only way to do so will probably be to seclude myself in the countryside of a foreign country or to sleep for a very, very long time. I wouldn’t be able to do the necessary things that are required everyday–sending e-mails to my friends abroad, my family back home (once I move to the states), complete assignments that require technology, and so on.

Facebook attracted a lot of teenagers when it was first recognized at our school. Its use spread like wildfire, and soon students were communicating with their friends through facebook without hesitation. However as time passes by, its fervor was slowly lost, and now it exists as a “what-is-the-point” entity in my comptuer screen. Sure, it does help me keep in contact with friends that I haven’t met for a long time, but I no more spend numerous hours on it. Just few minutes of a check is enough.

Many say that teenage internet users are easily “fooled” and “manipulated” under the advertorials that exist in the media. Many believe that these unsuitable “ads” pose a potential threat to the online users. But, as it is with everything in real life, I think the amount of experiences I had as an internet user since elementary school makes it easier for me to recognize the so-called “dangerous” marketing online, and I don’t see it as a big problem for “digital natives.”

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