SOCIAL NETWORKS and why they are INTERRUPTING your CHILD to grow up!

Contrary to predictions, the internet did not ruin childhood. Instead, children and adolescents today are more visible than ever. For the first time in history they have wide access to the technologies they need to construct and control lives online. Hence, the potential danger is no longer the disappearance of childhood, but the risk that children never want (and can not) grow up.


tech child using laptop
Child learning to use tech.
An excerpt from the book "The End of Forgetting: Growing Up With Social Networks" by Kate Eichhorn (July 9, 2019)

Only a few decades in the era of digital media, the ability to leave childhood and teenage years behind has drastically diminished. While it is difficult to talk about accurate figures, it is obvious that the majority of young people with mobile access are photographed and posted on a daily basis. Although this at first glance does not act as an important issue, it is not yet clear what this extreme documenting of images formed during the childhood and adolescent period of life, which are built not only in digital memories, but indirectly and deeply in the memories of those who have made them.

This concern is totally the opposite of what the theoreticians of the media, sociologists and digital skeptics in the 1990s showed. Namely, they were afraid that unhindered access to all Internet content would morally degrade children, they will soon be introduced to things they are not ready for, and hence threaten the "innocence" of their childhood. And this is of course legitimate issues - the Internet really made it more accessible pornography, including that violent, allowing a pleasing approach of pedophiles to young people, etc. While the media were obsessed with how to protect children from hackers, maniacs and other Internet "anger", doctors noted all the health risks of passing online for a long time - spinning of the spine, excessive obesity, and mental problems, from social isolation to depression.

The increased regulation of the Internet and the oversight of what children and young people have access to is based not on scientific evidence but on the theory of "childhood innocence", which in this case is threatened by external influences. And it is used not only for some kind of protection of children, but also for promoting online censorship by morally shattered parents and teachers. In an article published in 1997 under the title "Radical Teacher", media theorist Henry Jenkins noticed that the real problem was not the new media (because there was moral panic for the negative effects of cinema, radio and TV), but the very myth of childhood innocence:

The myth of childhood innocence 'empts' children out of their own thoughts, deprives them of the ability to influence political influence and influence on social agendas, after which they become tools for meeting the needs, desires and policies of adults ...' The innocent "The child becomes a dangerous abstraction that begins to replace the true child in our thoughts, and helps justify the efforts to limit the actual children's minds and regulate their bodies. This myth of the children sees only as potential victims of the adult world, or as users of paternalistic protection, and is contrary to pedagogies that give children the power of active subjects in the educational process. We can not teach children to think critically if we do not allow them access to information with risky content or if we do not face them with provocative images.

And Jenkins is not the only one who insists that the real challenge is for children and young people to learn how to use the Internet in a more prosperous and innovative way. The same young people that were given access to the Internet in the 1990s and early 2000s built social networks and other online platforms that transform the lives of people of all ages at the end of the first decade of the new millennium (in 1996, Mark Zuckerberg was 12, and Brian Cesky from Erbnb for 15 years). But in time, his argument cirkulled into a culture where many people had already raised their hands from the future of childhood, that is, who were convinced that the border between childhood and adulthood had already eroded.

But here, in today's digital age, children's and adolescent cultures are healthy and alive. Most young people spend hours online in the worlds that most adults are not at all interested in and have only limited access. And this is where the biggest difference between today's and former technology lies. In the print world, adults determined what the children could approach - they handled the printing press, bought the books, and controlled the libraries. Now children are free to build their own worlds and fill them with their own content. The content is predominantly concentrated on its own "I" (hence the domination of the sulphi). The concept of childhood survived, but its definition is more in the hands of the very young. If it was ever constructed by adults and then projected to children (through carefully selected images in the family album or a series of home videos), this is no longer the case. Today, young people create images and release them into circulation without interference by adults.

Quite contrary to the predictions of decades ago, childhood has never disappeared. Instead, children and adolescents today are more visible than ever. For the first time in history, they have wide access to the technologies they need to present their lives and release them in circulation. Hence, the potential danger is no longer the disappearance of childhood, but the possibility of its postponement or constant presence. The real crisis of the digital age is a childhood that can not be forgotten. 
SOCIAL NETWORKS and why they are INTERRUPTING your CHILD to grow up! SOCIAL NETWORKS and why they are INTERRUPTING your CHILD to grow up! Reviewed by techblog on July 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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