Adults vs. Media. Problems of kids these days.

Media in 21st century is quite interesting…in the sense that producers and consumers of media are the same groups of people. That may sound simple but it surely has a huge impact on our society. Like post modernists say, there are little difference between high and low culture. I mean, it is a lot more difficult to distinguish a good source of information from a crappy one. Or entertainmentwise, home videos can have as much impact as big budget films as long as it’s catchy. These facts about media 2.0 cannot be denied, and so its influence on society. Today I will raise one topic of cultural change that has been influenced by new media. It is worth thinking about, especially in Thai society where seniority plays a large role, that is, how teenagers don’t respect adults as much as in the past.

New media

First, like I say, media producers and consumers are no longer a different groups of people. Today’s new media allow people to create their own contents and share to the world. Therefore there are tons of contents that we can consume; good or bad, nicely researched or just done. And it is hard to distinguish what is real and what is not. People will just consume anything as there are SOOO many things to consume. However, what is a sure thing is that they are exposed to more information, more diverse perspectives from diverse people, and more ideas. And who are THEY, the people we are talking about? Of course, it’s the young generations that consume the most from new media.

In the past, adults and elderlies are respected, despite their deteriorating physical energy, because of their knowledge and experiences. They are the ones who had been there and know what things are about and how one should deal with those situations. But now teenagers of this era, they don’t need those bedtime stories anymore. All they have to do when they need some advice or want to know about something, is a few click on Google.

To be honest, adults are dull with technology and are also raised in a different era when different mind sets are valued and cultivated, they might have a little narrow horizon for this rapidly changing world and also are harder to change as they grow older whereas ego and old habits are in the way to open mind. Younger generations are born and raised in a free world where possibilities are in the air. They are familiar with technologies and other languages especially English. And with this environment that information are everywhere and the have the capability to take it, THEY TAKE IT. That is why younger generations are smart. They know a lot of things that sometimes beyond the limits of adults. That’s why internet now has become a closer friend and often times, advisor than adults and elderlies to teenagers. It allows them to know wider and faster. It gives them the feeling of power that knowledge is in their hands. New media through internet also, is boundaryless. People can see and consume contents and see what’s going on at the other side of the world. Hence, they absorb diverse ways of thinking and culture from other countries which may contradict with their own culture and make them want to experiment. And if they like what they see, it may cause them to doubt their own cultures and started to stand against it and also against those who try to put it into them, the adults… A common example, is the culture of expressing love. Thai society values girls that preserve themselves and not allow men to approach them too easily. Touching expressions such as hugging or kissing in public are also seen as inappropriate. But nowadays, media shows different values; touching is an expression of love and it is a beautiful ordinary thing to do. Thai teenagers might started to agree with the nature of love media shows them and behave in the new way which adults might not be happy with.

An artwork from เพราะเป็นเด็กจึงเจ็บปวด exhibition in 2015

It may be true that adults sometimes have narrow mind. But this is due to quite a big gap between the experience adults and kids get with the influence of media. This influence of media is big. There are even online movements such as # ผู้ใหญ่ใจแคบ which in Thai, means narrow minded adults or #เพราะเป็นเด็กจึงเจ็บปวด which means being kids is painful where teenagers express their stress with adults and hashtag it on twitter. This becomes a collection of resentment of young generations against adults and elderlies.

Another artwork from เพราะเป็นเด็กจึงเจ็บปวด exhibition in 2015

This example is what would not happen in the past as the seniority culture is quite dominant and kids who talk this way about adults might be seen as ungrateful people. But this very same example also reflects how adults these days might not get their children anymore and how children are more daring to speak up against them. These movement are, in my perspective, both a reflection of our society and what drives our society. This kind of movement is very open and it may make it look more okay to reject adults and thus, drive youngster even further away from adults. The respect line is blurred. They feel like they don’t have to listen to adults that much anymore. Adults are now seen more as equals.

It’s not that I am old-fashioned. I, as a teenager, also feel that sometimes adults are close minded and sometimes they just cannot respond to our needs. But ultimately, unlike the media, adults are true and real people who not only have stories that you would not know if not explore them, but they can also tell you the stories scene by scene because they are proud and they care about you.

I, as a writer, enjoy writing this article very much and I hope you enjoy reading it too. And don’t forget! Consume the media with conscious and respect the adults.