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The Influence of Technology on Adolecent Culture

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The Influence of Modern Technology among adolescents

Within the United States of America


Over the past decade, modern day society has implemented the growing use of technology as an every day occurrence. We have replaced books with computers, land lines with cell phones and handwritten notes with emails. Although this process has been gradually changing over time, it appears that within the last couple of years the advancement has exploded at an enormous speed. Adolescents of today have been exposed to this phenomenon earlier than any generation before. Their everyday lives revolve around it and could possibly be hindered by this growing trend. In this paper, I will discuss avenues that attribute to the creation of "The Net Generation" and how they have affected adolescent culture.

The Influence of Modern Technology among adolescents

Within the United States of America

Research reflects that over the past decade, an overall interest with technology has sent the American public into frenzy. Keeping up with the last technological advancements has become a top priority for many American families. In the growing age of popularity and peer influence many parents are falling in to the trap of "keeping up with the Jones's". The Baby Boomer generation have been relying on their adolescents children to keep them up to date with the latest trends, and in doing so have placed a huge dent in the way our society runs. A recent study conducted by Forrester found that "young people are often the ones making technology decisions for the entire household" (Flynn, 2001). Young consumers are almost three times as likely to own portable MP3 players and are more likely than their parents to try something new. Fifty-two percent of the 10,000 teens surveyed say that they or their siblings were the first in their families to make purchases on-line (Flynn, 2001).

Having two parents who don't even know how to turn on a computer, I can relate to that statistic myself. I can remember the first time, I order contacts on line, and my mom looked at me like I had two heads. She stated, how can something that can only be found at a doctors office, be so easily accessible through the computer? That is just it I explained, technology thrives on convenience and accessibility. Adolescents today have the world at the touch of a button. The old ways of having to visiting a doctor's office to get contacts is obsolete and even they have integrated the use of technology.

"Information at your fingertips", has been a long standing label used to describe a positive characteristic for the use of the internet. The idea is simple, but when we factor in the thousands of other uses, it does not appear to be so positive. It is important to note that 87% of adolescents between the ages of 12-17 use the internet and slightly more than half of them long on daily, according to "Teens and Technology: Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and Mobile Nation" , that statistic is up 14% percent from a survey conducted four years ago (Schmidt, 2005). Between 1995 and 1999, the online population in the United States went from 9% to 56%. This is a 600% increase since the late 1995 confirms that the internet as the fastest growing technology in the world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2001, 51% of households have internet access. This has increased form 26% in 1998 and 18% in 1997 (Muncher & Madell, 2004). Although, a great tool for educational advancement, the internet as of late has taken a forefront for adolescent communications outside of the school environment. Parents are always asking me how to better limit their child's use of the household computer. When a child chooses to play on the computer rather than do his/her schoolwork, grades suffer.

So what are these teens doing when they get home from school? I took the opportunity to speak with two students and I asked them that question. To be more specific, I asked them to "tell me three things they can't go a day without using".

Rachel is an eleven year old female. She is currently in sixth grade and comes from an affluent upper middle class family. She told me she can't go an hour without using her cell phone and always has the latest ring tones. The three things she can't go a day without using are her cell phone, instant messenger and Apple Ipod.

Thomas is a fifteen year old male. He is currently a freshman in high school and lives with his single parent mother. He is often also seen talking on his cell phone and brings his Nintendo game cube to school. Three things he can't go a day without using are his cell phone, lab-top computer and Nintendo game cube.

The Web, broadband and instant messaging has been around for as long as most teens can remember. So it is no surprise that researchers found that nearly nine out of ten teens use the internet on a daily basis (Schmidt, 2005). Both Rachel and Thomas can be considered as adolescents of this Net Generation, they both adequately fit the criteria of the 90% percentile. Rachel is a single child living in a million dollar mansion, while Thomas is a one of three brothers living in a trailer home. This is a perfect example of two extremes that share a commonality in the need for technology, proving the fact that this advancement has no barriers.

Both students told me that they do not feel bad about asking their parents to buy his these expensive gifts; it appeared to be almost expected. This is a hard concept for me to grasp and I am less than a decade older than these two students. Technology has become a necessity in the daily lives of American adolescents, even if that implies they are more often then not purchasing items that they want, rather than need.

At this point, the ethical standpoint



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