I was sitting amongst a bunch of teenagers in an internet cafÃ© when the things I observed inspired this article. I peeped at the screens of the computers they were using and made some interesting observations. Two were playing games. One was hiding his screen and from the corner of my eye I saw naked women, probably he was watching porn. The other two were comparing pictures of celebrities. Another one was complaining about how slow the internet was as he was trying to stream a video of one of Lil Wayne’s songs. So I sat there, busy looking for information on human trafficking on Google and I wondered if this was a generational thing.
Indeed the advent of technology with i phones, i pads and ido not know what else will follow has brought forth new dynamics in communication. The era of letters when we would run like mad puppies to the gate to collect letters from the postman or the age of landlines when at the first ring you would run to make sure that no one else picks up the phone in case it was your boyfriend and you did not want your mother or father to pick up are over. Even the use of cellphones’ has metamophorsised from a mere tool to receive calls and send sms’s to become an i(nnovative) tool of technology, where you surf the net, you skype and do all sorts of innovative things.
Yes the internet is a Revolution and communication will never be dull again. I love the emoticons on Skype, enjoy chatting on Gtalk, Nimbuzz, Facebook, Whatsapp and everything else that I know which is available. With a multitude of passwords, I am even amazed at myself and wonder how I keep up with all these different technologies. And if I, at my age, am such an addict surely teenagers can be forgiven for burying their heads in this technology.
The internet has become the backbone of life for today’s youths. My worry however is that, that backbone is collapsing & the future rests precariously on a skeletal figure. When we were growing up, we read novels, watched cartoons and played puzzles or Snakes and Ladders. We learnt a lot, we sharpened our brains and we had innocent fun.
We watched cartoons such as Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an animation that taught kids the importance of protecting the environment. The characters who came together to defend the earth from subversive elements namely; Kwame from Africa, Wheeler from North America, Linka from the Soviet Union, Gi from Asia, and Ma-Ti from South America represented the collective effort of the global community in all continents to come together and defend the well being of the planet earth.We were captivated by the adventures of ‘Denver the last dinosaur’ which were entertaining and non-violent.
This was way different from what the kids of today invest their time into (especially teenagers) when they are on the net. Most of the time a good guess would be, watching porn, playing games, chatting with possible ‘soul mates’ and watching some more porn, in that order.
The few more ‘innovative’ ones will watch sport, follow tabloids, chat with friends, and check out the latest fashion and such other things. Oh yes it is ok to want to read about sport or fashion or sex or gossip on celebrities. After all these things are proven stress relievers & once in a while we all need to let go of this complicated world of politics, global finance, abuse, hunger and poverty to think of things that do not stress us or give us headaches.
My worry is however that the youths of today do not make these things (porn and games) a pastime. It is their way of life. Young people do not like to read. They prefer watching pictures of naked women and rich people instead of figuring out how to get rich. Very few of them realise that it is in reading and critiquing other people’s thoughts that we sharpen our minds. And not just any junk but meaningful work that talks to our daily issues. They do not realise that it is through reading that we develop critical thinking which took many people far in developing innovative technologies-including the ipads and i phones that they abuse when watching porn. They also do not realise that it is through reading that the soul finds fulfillment & enrichment; after all ignorance is just as bad as death.
I wonder what it will take to develop & resuscitate a youth that loves reading, not just any lump of words put together, but meaningful reading that gives them much more value than that famous article with close to a billion hits entitled ‘How to get multiple orgasms.’
I have considered giving my blog posts raunchy misleading titles hoping that the youths will read them even after discovering my deceipt? But then again I realised that they will read the first paragraph, realise that the content is not what they expected and leave a rude message to the sum of: “WTF is this s***!!!This article contains none of the things implied in the heading.”
Surely the creators of modern technology did not mean to create generations of ignorant beings. The internet is supposed to be a media for education and information dissemination as much as it should be a source of entertainment. Oh well, besides writing this article and hoping it changes a few of the youngsters’ minds about the kind of stuff they invest their time in when they are on the internet, I will just sit and hope for a miracle that a conscious bolt of lightning will strike them and implant in their thoughts ideas of development and progress to override the prevailing thoughts of women or men, sex, drugs and money!