Monday, August 24, 2009

A Look at the Children of the Media

"Today's television child is attuned to up-to-the-minute "adult" news-inflation, rioting, war, taxes, crime, bathing beauties-and is bewildered when he enters the nineteenth-century environment that still characterizes the education establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects and schedules . . . Today's child is growing up absurd, because he lives in two worlds, and neither of them inclines him to grow up. Growing up-that is our new work, and it is total. Mere instruction will not suffice."

This passage can relate to the world today in many ways, even though it was composed at least half a decade or so earlier. As technology advances with more and more people connecting to the Internet and the world wide web, children and teens alike are becoming attached to technological advances, and are "hooked" on the very "latest trends" that are "in". For example, with cell phones, social networking sites, and Twitter, teens and children are ahead of the news crews that report breaking news and developing stories, many of these being related to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has become problematic to teachers in schools and parents and other figures in authority as these minors are always "rudely" paying more attention to their text messages, Twitter updates, and MySpace and Facebook pages online, rather than spending quality time with their family and friends. This looks to the adult figure that the child/teen in question is more interested in their phones and Internet friends and such.

In addition to the advances in technology comes the advances in alternate methods to accessing information "legally and properly." Contemporary issues include downloading music illegally and witnessing violent and disturbing events online through sites such as YouTube and online pornography sites. The anonymity that comes with the Internet allows children who are as young as 10 to even access sites that only allows access to people of a certain age due to the nature of the content that is being displayed. And illegal file-sharing is a major concern for the music industry. Years ago, people were fine with creating your own recordings of popular songs and radio shows and the likes. But now, the RIAA is suing people left and right just because they wanted their own copy of a particular song that they just didn't want to purchase. Many artists are clinging to their copyrights like security blankets so as to earn more money on "fairer" terms of agreements. They are getting paid for their songs being heard by people in contrast to what work they actually did.

These issues came with the advancement in technology because somebody somewhere has found a way to fulfill a certain task, such as creating your own copy of a cd or dvd and committing crimes of identity theft through even more invisible means of criminal acts. And "mere instruction will not suffice" because the children of our time will not listen: they have seen movies, television shows, pictures, music videos, etc, where crimes have been glorified into this Hollywood-designed world of "coolness" and "fun." They won't listen to us because they're listening to their iPods and the likes. And they have been exposed to so much explicit information that the media is outnumbering the parents, siblings, teachers, relatives, pastors, rabbis, imams, mentors and other "adults" through sheer frequency of advertisements alone. With the numbers out there, stark in the open space where logic resides, it easy to see who is louder and who is pretty much giving up on talking to walls that listen to audible rock music and say "Whatever" to everything someone says.

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