Bill gates said “We are changing the world with technology.” Douglas Carl Engelbart an American inventor, and an early computer and internet pioneer quoted that , “In 20 or 30 years, you'll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world".
Keeping aside the rapid progress in knowledge and the way digital revolution made life easy, if we discuss how it impacted the childhood and adolescent life it most of the times doesn’t seem very positive.
In 70s and 80s researchers termed the modernisation caused by TV in Germany as “Television Childhood” and “Loss of childhood.” Parents are always insecure and fear that television may affect their kid’s personality development. Not that Television hasn’t been educational but it is famously phrased as “Idiot box” the way it influenced everyone’s life. Even cartoons are provocative at times. Instead of playing in the ground nearby kids started watching TV a lot and there are extreme scenarios which came in news long back where a boy had put his younger brother in washing machine to make him white/fair. Kids believe everything and hence false news can be a bad impact on them. There’s a kid in our neighbourhood who disobeys his mom and beats the maid as he wants to imitate Shinchan, a cartoon character. The cartoon is hilarious but the after effects are far beyond our imagination.
The actual digital revolution occurred in late 90s with the advent of computers, mobile phones, Dig-cams, CD players and Internet. This is called second wave of modernisation. The generation Y kids and teens grew up with a mouse in one hand and mobile phone in the other. The increase in world’s pace helped us immensely as everything is digitalised from booking a flight to paying your bills to clicking 1000s of pictures and face-booking them but whether there is a communication breakthrough or breakdown due to the vast array of new technologies still remains an open question.
With a computer in every home every kid grows up digitally and has access to everything which internet can conjure. Be it an online game, social media or banned videos and movies. 50% parents cannot track the life and happenings of their generation Y kids due to the extreme intervention of digitalization.
Many kids prefer play-station to play ground and feel shy to interact with other kids of their age face to face. Digitalization definitely took over print. Kids make notes taking the help of internet rather than text book. Investigative skills, critical abilities, and academic potential definitely are increasing with the increased use of PC. This increased knowledge and varying opinions sometimes lead to reverse socialisation where younger generation influence the parent’s views and ideas. Prefigurative culture develops when people face unfamiliar and significantly changed circumstances. The youth in a prefigurative culture primarily focus on the present and future and are less bound to the past than their elders who have a limited knowledge.
If you see the bigger picture digital revolution revolutionised every field for greater good. Better medical treatments, LASER technology, libraries, increased employment, fashion and movies are few to name. You name it, digitalization can happen to it, but in this digital world where everything is a click away many even feel it as hocus-pocus in case of kids as they don’t actually learn how the stuff works! It really depends on how carefully kids use it and how warmly the parents can inculcate the pros and cons of digital world around us.
The interesting question is what kind of adults will the generation Y kids become? Will they be black-berrying merrily forever like their parents? Will they feel anxious if they can’t find their I-pods or phones? Will they feel comfortable in texting and mailing their kids rather than confronting them? We can only wait and see.