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By Dusey Hyman
I know. You used to play with rocks when you were a kid, and now kids play with iPhones. I cannot help that. The future has come, and technology is now fully integrated into most households. Don’t blame my generation; we aren’t the ones who created it.
Many advances in technology have occurred in the last few decades, and even in the past year. I constantly feel like I am made to feel guilty for being born in 2000. If I could have chosen when to be born, I would have picked another date. Instead, I am reminded that I grew up with technology and social media, like the iPhone, facebook, and twitter. Though I do not use social media often, I feel helpless when adults bring up their past. You know, the grueling times when there was only one cable phone in the house or when there was a constant fuzzy sound and a glow around the TV. I, along with countless other teenagers my age, are put on the spotlight and blamed for growing up with technology.
I always thought I was a Millennial, until I realized that I am actually a member of Generation Z: the generation born between 1995 and 2010. However, some people think that all teenagers are Millennials. According to demographers and researchers, Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, were born between 1980 and 1995. Both Generations Z and Y receive grief about being born in this time. Some of the grief even comes from older Millennials, who are unaware that they are also in this category. Before that came Generation X: anyone born between 1965 to 1980. Baby Boomers are people born from 1946 to 1964. Lastly, there are the Traditionalists, otherwise known as the Silent Generation, who were born before 1945. Each generation grew up during an event or a progression; Generation Z just happened to grow up during the rise of smart phones.
Teenagers are not the only ones who spend time on their phones. Many adults spend the day looking at their social media and other apps as well. Social media expert Katie Greer came to Collegiate for the second year in a row on Tuesday, October 3rd and spoke about the positive and negative impacts of social media on teenagers and adults in multiple assemblies. Some students thought that her presentation has become less effective, as she repeated her points from the past in this year’s presentation. When talking about the presentation, Celia Phillips (‘19) “thought it was useful the first time. I think that she just repeated the same things as before.”
Director of Student Life Beth Kondorossy responded to students’ comments about Greer by saying that “I think at times it’s difficult for a speaker to come back, specifically to an Upper School student body, and have them not be skeptical or think they have heard everything already.” Kondorossy believes it is important to have a speaker each year talk to students about how to safely use technology.
One of Greer’s points that stuck out to the audience was that adults use technology just as much, or even more, than teenagers do. Adults and teenagers all have online habits; however, adults did not grow up with daily lessons about how to use the internet, unlike teenagers. This can result in headline-inducing social media mistakes, such as the recent “brouhaha” concerning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife, actress and author Louise Linton, and her instagram account. Both teenagers and adults are guilty of over-using and mis-using their phones, yet teenagers might be better equipped with information about handling them.
I hear comments like “Kids these days are always on their phones” and “these kids are gonna get crooked thumbs soon” too often. Adults sometimes blame the generation when they should really blame the creators. We cannot do anything about the constant updates to technology. Likely, adults in 1920 said the same things about an automobile or a radio that adults say about iPhones now. The founder of Samsung, Lee Byung-Chull, was born in 1910. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was born in 1955, making him a Baby Boomer. They were born in older generations and created what we use each day.
We are in a time period where these innovations are being marketed and are in high demand, so we, teenagers and adults, have to adapt to a rapidly changing world. So older generations shouldn’t get mad when it does change. Creating new technology and trying to improve existing technology is how many people earn a living. The smartphone is no different than other life-changing inventions from throughout history, from the the printing press, to the lightbulb, to the airplane. New technology will continue to be invented, and humans will continue to adapt to it.
I was born into a time with new and intriguing technology, but I do not solely rely on it. Anyone, no matter what age, who uses technology should not be dependent on technology and should know the importance of taking breaks. Phones and computers should be sources of information and a way to connect people that cannot be connected through normal interactions. Having connections through social media is a benefit of technology which should be used regularly.
Featured image: Ryan J. Lane via Getty Images.