Growing Up in The Digital Age
In the last 50 years, the amount of change due to technology has been immense and it is still continuing today. Meyrowitz argues in No Sense of Place that the first generation to grow up with television felt and then acted rebellious and revolutionary towards the status quo of society. He uses examples such as the feminist/women’s liberation movement, civil rights movement, anti-war movement, gay rights movement, and forms of political movements to support this argument. He says that these movements were triggered by the growing forms of technology during the 1960s and 1970s. These trends of movements and revolutions has continued just as technology has improved and broadened throughout the years. Being the first generation to grow up with the internet has been monumental and different to say the least. The internet is without a doubt the biggest form of technology today. It’s now on cell phones and even television now has internet included in it. My generation has grown up with the internet being a prominent part of our lives, and because of this, social change has continued to effect society in different and many of the same ways as well.
The internet has grown the idea gender roles and the role of our identity and how we portray that and accept that. In the past, men and women were very separated in the sense that men worked outside of the home and women stayed home and did housework and cared for the children and husband and that didn’t really differ much. According to Meyrowitz, television helped to sway women and they began to come together and rebel against the status quo. They began to feel they didn’t always have to stay home and care for the children while their husbands were away at work. They started to want to get an education, get a career, maybe not get married right away, and basically just have equal opportunities. Gay rights also weren’t as widely accepted and were rarely spoken of. Today, the women’s movement continues and the gender movement expands. Women have come extremely far in this movement of equal rights, and now this has expanded to a LGBTQ community that was widely formed online. Because of the internet, people are learning there are people out there like them and they aren’t alone. They have more access to information about other people and their ways of living and this helps people become more accepting, for the most part. Our generation is generally very accepting of people who are “different” and this is something most of our grandparents don’t necessarily agree with. They just didn’t grow up in this society like we did. Television may have triggered the women’s liberation and the gay rights movement, but the internet definitely expanded these ideas and caused our generation to be more open-minded and accepting of all different types of people, no matter their gender or identity.
Another point that Meyrowitz touches upon is the idea that the line between children and adults is now blurred. He argues that television caused children to be exposed to more information that they wouldn’t have been exposed to in the past. Our generation has grown up with access to endless information because of the internet. If we’re curious about something today, we can turn to the internet on virtually any technology in any place or form and find out the answer. Children are gaining access to information technology at a younger and younger age now, which means they now have access to any information that adults do. Children are thinking they are much older and more mature than they actually are. Young teenagers are dressing provocatively, acting older, and even engaging in activities that they aren’t mentally ready for. I personally know girls who were put on birth control at the age of fourteen. In my opinion, that is much too young, but honestly, younger children are being exposed to that much earlier than in the past. It is a dangerous phenomenon, but the internet has pushed this idea and caused young girls and boys to be acting much older than they are.
Growing up with the internet has definitely caused our generation to be more rebellious but yet accepting to social change. Gender roles and identities have expanded and caused our society, for the most part, to become more accepting and understanding of different types of people and ways of living. The blurred line of children and adults has caused children to act much older than they are, and therefore progress much more quickly. Growing up in this generation, for myself, has taught me that everyone is different and everyone should be accepting. It’s also taught me that the world isn’t always a nice place and that’s just the reality of it. For the future, I’m not exactly sure how this would proceed. I’m curious to see, especially, how the line between children and adults are going move on from here. Will young children, teenagers, have the information of thirty year olds but a body and maturity level of a thirteen-year-old? Will this be the way all teenagers are? There are definitely similar forms of social change happening with the internet as there was with television and other forms of mass media in the past and I’m very eager to find out how that will continue in the future.