Even to people today who grew up in this technologically savvy age, sometimes the Internet feels like magical gizmo! I know that for members of young society, many of our parents and grandparents remain in awe of the wonders that can be done and seen on the web. Some of them are even apprehensive towards the internet. Maybe they have good reason to be... We have arrived at the point where one can sit at home on their laptop or computer and still be connected to the rest of the world. We have the ability to express ourselves and share ideas at the click of a button. For most colleges in the U.S the Internet is used as an essential learning tool. At the school which I attend currently - the University of Arizona - without access to the Internet I believe it is impossible to pass any class (let me know if you have achieved this incredible feat!). Beyond education the Internet is utilized by this generation to find jobs and to buy or sell products or services. Online shopping is a rapidly increasing market because of its convenience and speed. Nevertheless the biggest use of the Internet by young society today is as a social platform. The Internet provides the opportunity to connect with friends and family regardless of proximity; it also gives people the ability to create a new identity for themselves. Whether it is on a social site such as Facebook or twitter, one can adopt the persona of whomever one pleases. Virtual online worlds have recently become popular. In these domains people can actually live out their fantasies; pursue areas of life they feel they are unable to in reality. Normally I would say this is harmless. It's fun to escape reality from time to time and dream about 'what if' scenarios. But then i think back to my high-school days. I was fortunate enough to experience high-school in both New Zealand and the United States. Through those years I realized that a lot of kids struggle to find their identity during their teenage years. I think every single one of us has a personal story about either themselves or someone they knew that changed dramatically in high-school, or bounced from clique to clique trying to figure out if they were a nerd, jock, Barbie or whatever other group that existed at the school. This is a natural process that varies in time from person to person. Some people figure it out early and become comfortable in their own skin, while others take much, much longer to settle into a niche. Regardless, looking back at the struggle we all went through bring back memories. Whether painful or joyful, these make us who we are. In my opinion the social aspect of the internet might make this process more difficult. Instead of focusing on discovering their identity (or purpose) teenagers are now obsessed with how they can look 'cool' online and fit in as well as how they can look 'cool' offline and fit in! (sounds stressful!!). Now there is competition on how many friends one has on Facebook, or who has the most followers on twitter. Except unlike in real life, on the internet you can pretend to be anyone. From the outside looking in, it is difficult to see through all the clutter and learn who someone really is. More importantly sometimes one can lose sight of themselves and what is truly important.
Would love to hear feedback!!