Where I stand in the digital divide determines my digital disposition and how it has designed me as a person. Being brought up in a school with access to computers, in a household with a computer, and keeping up with these technologies during my growth, I have been brought into this world as a “digital native”, as Prensky suggests. My understanding of the world has been molded because of these technologies, and I have morphed into a computer-centric being.
While my place in the digital divide has been a fortunate one, my place in the digital world is vastly different from that of others. Being female, the online community has always been warned as a place for pedophiles and kidnappers to find their next victim: me. Not saying that boys aren’t subject to these threats, but my sex has definitely been deemed as a more viable victim to these creepers. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on personal preferences, I was watched carefully on my online use and how private my social media sites were supposed to be. Not too many pictures, no locations, no birthdays, no inappropriate language, and several other requirements. As I grew older, this helped shape me into a literate and aware media user. I am still fearful that someone might be able to find out my information and use it in ways I wouldn’t imagine, and I’ve come across some scary instances in the past. So, in order to feel “safe” on the internet, I still maintain some of these rules. In reality, if someone wants my information from a site, they probably know how to get it. But I still fool myself into thinking I’m safer and harder to “crack” than others and won’t be targeted. Other users are not as lucky because they might not have gotten the same guidance and control that I received.
I grew up going to other computers and beyond my parents’ understanding of the web and created a new web of trust and information. The internet was a playground for my friends and me and because we all had different understandings of this technology, we created a new literacy among each other that spread to other users around the world. More than just a tool to learn and utilize for productivity, we utilized these machines in ways others wouldn’t understand. The moment Facebook became a national “thing”, I had one. And I’ve had the same one for eight years. That’s an accumulation of almost HALF of my life on one, little social media site. I look at Facebook as a scrapbook of my life, rather than a way to communicate anymore. One of my previous sources claimed that women utilize social media in order to “share socio-emotional content without a care about privacy” (Rice). Because my Facebook was full of my “friends”, privacy didn’t mean much to me when we were connected. I shared some of the most ridiculous information on that site while including ridiculous pictures to go along with it. As much as I’d love to delete and burn that page of mine, I keep as a token of my adolescence. I catalogued most of my middle and high school life and can easily show them to people in the future for a laugh. While I do view this site as funny and a way to mock my past self, I do realize how my position in the digital divide has created this sense of disgust I have with it. For others, this site is a way to communicate and actually, productively use. My parents talk to friends from years ago because they lost touch due to the lack of Facebook in their age. Friends I care about connecting with I’m still connected, and others I don’t care for, I have already unfriended.
This post was written by a student, and has been left unedited by the admin, with the exception of any hyperlinks.