Social media interaction currently has taken control of both online and offline dialog. In a community where interacting and over-sharing online is the culture, one is likely to chat with friends and relatives through electronic devices instead of face to face. These changes have had much impact on the interpersonal social skills among the young and old individuals. As a result of increased technological changes, both internet, and other media have been embraced and are coordinated (Baym, Nancy, Yan, Zhang, and Mei-Chen Lin, 6). This has had much impact on youth’s way of life, activities, attitude, and behaviors. The role of technology within the society can be viewed in different perspectives, that is, technological determinism and social construction of technologies.
Technological determinism perspective explains the internet as an inventive force that possess an in-depth control on children and youth. The major impact is that it creates a new prototype of expression, communication and enthusiasm. Different words are used to refer to this generation of youth. They include Net-generation, millennium generation or digital natives. This is achieved with an attempt to explain a group of individuals who grew together during enhancement of the technology (Haythornthwaite, Caroline, 34). This group of individuals has highly been involved in media-rich environment, making use computers, playing internet games, continuously chatting and interaction with their friends using electronic devices. The young individuals apply digital spaces for social interaction, identity show up and media generation and use.
The scholars who argue for this approach and media use believes that adolescent live is differentiated by media privatization in a multimedia environment. As the time has passed by, media equipment is moving from public places to private places such as bedrooms among the youths. They have, therefore, developed a bedroom culture allowing little or no parental supervision and therefore facilitating media consumption (Tapscott, Don, 22). Therefore, this Net-generation group is described as optimistic, team players motivated by technology. Embracing technology among the teens, therefore, has greatly influenced them in a positive way. For instance, they can be more creative, carry out tests, and rely on technology to find information and chatting with others (Tapscott, Don, 89). Additionally, they are very optimistic to create new ways of presenting information through the internet rather than only being users. Therefore, it is worth saying that information technology has generated a new group of individuals who have comprehensive knowledge and skills in IT and are eager to learn and develop a culture in digital space. Therefore, the assumption related to the deterministic approach is that the technology is a non-dependant force that steer social alteration.
Taking into consideration social construction of technology, it is worth noting that the groups within the society are different depending on the level one uses to access technology, their knowledge and skills and the level of importance technology is to them. Technology, therefore, has social impact. However, they are also social products that build power connections and social goals and structures (Haythornthwaite, Caroline 56). Acknowledging internet in the lives of young people needs avoidance of deterministic approach and understanding technology variables. This is because it is not a one direction process. The deterministic approach has a limitation in that it does not take into consideration material condition and social environment in and where technology operates. Large organizations own such sites as social networks, weblogs, and photo sharing. At this point, their major target is usually the youths in an attempt to build their use outline (Haythornthwaite, Caroline, 35). While consuming this, teens usually gain some benefits. For example, they are able to overcome problems related to geographical location. This is because they are in a position to access others depending on particular interest. Last but not least, is that they play a vital role within the society as the major initiators of internet information and enabling such information to be accessed globally.
When viewed as a culture, this means that internet should be acknowledged as a social space in its right, investigating types of use and information generation. What also should be focused on is the prototype of online chatting and engagement, expression and identity creation generated within the social space and its sustainability (Stubbs, & Barnet, 151). While examining this, offline information regarding the teens is considered separate from individual’s real life. It is important to note that teens interacting within the online communities are located in different geographic locations. Such individuals usually experience different times setup. Despite all these, such individuals share the same interest, essential space and regulations, related and shared activities and the same sense of belongingness. Internet has, therefore, a played a very critical role since it has dissolved limitations created by location. Additionally, it has also freed teens from limitations related to individual offline personalities and social roles. The youths, through the internet, are in a position to express their real feelings.
The use of internet often depicts unrealized element of self and develop a virtual persona. During this time cyberspace becomes a field to deal with unresolved conflict, to always express challenges and also act on individual matters.
Viewing internet as an object of investigating oneself, online interaction and online social norms, rules and etiquette creates a methodological implication. This is because it does not take into consideration other directions such as the way social norms and values are being depicted through online community. There is criticism that the use of internet is a way to escape real issues within the surrounding since it only offers a chance for individuals to play with internet personality. The real body at this point is considered irrelevant and more so temporary suspended. As a result of this, it can be concluded that internet communication has developed a completely new type of communal interaction and integration (Haythornthwaite, Caroline 66). The communicating parties are no motivated by meeting the other party live but only enlarge social arena to meet with new friends located in any part of the world. Therefore, virtual connection and integration is regarded dearest, richer and more satisfying as compared to offline connection and coordination. This is because the former is based on real mutual interest while the latter is just based on physical proximity.
On the other hand, internet can be viewed in terms of cultural artifacts. In this perspective, internet is seen as an object within a social context in regards to how technology is used on the day to day operation of an individual. Things to also consider are channels of communication, expression and information generation in normal social world. This perspective rejects the assumption that internet is social life by itself. The argument behind this view is that a few if not all of the activities carried in the electronic world are influenced by offline culture. Therefore, digital space is built with support of the larger societal, subjective, cultural, economic and imaginary generations of lived knowledge and the structure in which we live and carryout day to day operations (Stubbs, & Barnet, 151).
Viewing internet in this approach, enable us to acknowledge that teens use internets to develop distinctive social spaces. This offers an opportunity for the use of real-time messaging and social networking. This maintains friendships among the teens and also cut off geographical limitations of relationship (Livingstone, Sonia & Moira Bovill, 109). The use of cyberspace enables interaction, sharing, and access to others who share their views regarding given matters despite not being members of their social group. As a result, teens can get access to new social network and much information resources and chances. It is important to note that the major aim of internet social media is to create and sustain current social ties.
Since internet and use of social media are now considered cultural tools, there is a need to put more attention to materials considered of social life. This is because issues considered socio-economic status such as skills and participation limits access to the virtual world. In this regards, internet and social media are, therefore, not considered new issue but a depiction of the current condition of the society (Stubbs, & Barnet, 341). The argument behind this is that people are carrying out old activities in new techniques. This has increased opportunities of interaction of people who are familiar to each other and are connected by different ties such as friendship, kinship among others. Internet is considered a channel of communication. However it is just a supplement of other forms of communication.
The recognition of internet and social media by the youths in their daily life is a clear indication that the two approaches ought to be integrated. Teens use internet as a means to complete some vital development transitions that include identity creation, social integration, and independence development. Therefore, the internet and social media are used to achieve all these transitions. However, it has an impact on culture and therefore differentiating it from that of an earlier generation.
One significant aspect to focus on when talking of internet culture is the modification in connection between youth and culture (Tapscott, Don, 33). Currently, youths play a huge part in the development of media content. This helps youths to increase their ability as passive users of information from the internet and more so passive inventors and contributors. Since it is less expensive to integrate inventions and to distribute them, individuals feel motivated to create and develop their own materials. Social media play a very critical role in encouraging creation and development of ad-hoc and formal, small and large online society ((Livingstone, Sonia & Moira Bovill, 116). Such sites include User Generated Content (UGC) a site in which bloggers post news, (MySpace) where artist place their music, (Flickr) where armature post their pictures and (YouTube) where videos are posted (Tapscott, Don, 44). This is a clear indication of the degree to which youths are engaged in web production and even turning some of them into youth sites. Additional internet creations include blogs shared using larger audience offering an opportunity for interactive dialog. This is mostly used to develop identity and socialize.
The use of social media to remain in contact always has generated many questions regarding the way such individuals manage this with their busy schedules. Currently, with the development of iPods and even personal computers has made teens involved in multitasking (Stubbs, & Barnet, 331). They are involved in media multitasking carrying out activities such as emailing, IM, web search and exchanging of messages top friend through social networks.
The consequences of the multitasking process are that youths become somehow overloaded in an attempt to manage thousands of contacts and even the risk of interacting with strangers (Tapscott, Don, 56). Next is that they can stay in touch with friends. Having high number according to research conducted among teens in U.S, the availability of friends in their contact is a clear indication of social standing, and that one is socially integrated with others.
In conclusion, from the above discussion it is evident that internet plays a critical role in adolescent life in both culture artifact and culture. Adolescent being a development transition stage, different adolescent individuals retrieve different information from the net for different use. Teens embracing of the internet are a clear indication of chances for social integration with friends, family and others (Smith, Merritt & Leo Marx, 66). This is achieved with an attempt to explain a group of individuals who grew together during enhancement of the technology.
Social media interaction currently has taken control of both online and offline dialog. In a community where interacting and over-sharing online is the culture, one is likely to chat with friends and relatives through electronic devices instead of face to face. As a result of increased technological changes, both internet, and other media have been embraced and are coordinated. Technological determinism perspective explains the internet as an inventive force that possess an in-depth control on children and youth. The major impact is that it creates a new prototype of expression, communication, and enthusiasm. Different words are used to refer to this generation of youth (Livingstone, Sonia & Moira Bovill, 24). They include Net-generation, millennium generation or digital natives.
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