The year is 2003. I, a five-year-old boy, stare blankly at one of the many bulky, but wide, computer monitors at my local library. I’m engrossed in a collection of rapidly flashing images that bring a smile to my face. As I watch the screen with characters, colorful and bright, dancing around, I swing my legs back and forth on a tall, wooden chair with no worries in the world.
At this moment, I’m at peace 😍.
I’m content with everything I’m seeing. Do I care about the things around me? Not really, but is there any need to be? With a computer at hand, the only thing that can break my focus is my mother calling me to return home. In the moment, the world around me disappears, and I find myself in a wonderful realm full of fun games, videos, and characters that bring amusement to many others as well.
Now we fast forward to 2018 🤢.
Again, I’m in a library, but this time, I glance away from my small, sleek laptop screen to view the people around me. Immediately, I see dozens of different laptops and smart phones that cover tables. I see people texting, chatting, and committing time to these devices with so many intricate details that I could barely name over a decade ago. Clearly, I’ve always lived in a technological era, but my experiences differ from the billions of other people in the world.
However, for those whose lives have integrated with internet access and technology, like myself, it becomes an important part of their everyday life. For instance, with the rise of social media, we have been able to create online identities that may reflect our personalities offline. In effect, we can find users and groups online who have similar interests, allowing more people to find their place in an expanding world. Nevertheless, there exists one quirk of the internet that generates concern in the back of my head.
What is this quirk? Well, I think it is complacency 💩.
While I think the internet is amazing for being able to bring so many people together, offer knowledge to its holders, and enhance our daily lives, I have begun wonder if succumbing to the features of the internet may hinder us in the long run. As we discussed in class, the internet becomes a personalized realm, full of ads and ideas that we want to see.
But this seems almost too perfect, doesn’t it 😆?
Going back to my initial story, when I was younger, the internet did not seem divisive, nor did I have a large urge to explore new websites and hear about new ideas. I stuck to what I knew. Admittedly, as a child, these ideas probably would not occur to me, but perhaps this symbolizes what we may feel in the future: a lack of desire to develop our personalities and learn more outside of our filter bubbles. If we constantly see what makes us happy, then there is less reason for opposition and we fall into a cycle that becomes harder and harder to break out of. As a result, I’ve had a stronger desire than before to question the ideas I read and hear while creating strong opinions that I believe in and can defend. I also hope to convince others to do the same.
Technology and the internet are complex, but so are we. I think variety in our individual choices allows us to become unique, making us important and interesting to others. Potentially losing our desire to explore new ideas and knowledge seems regressive in a way. While the internet has definitely shaped who I am, I still think there are factors to be conscious of despite the advantages it evidently presents.