Technology has definitely become an important aspect of our daily lives. Whether directly or indirectly, people interact with technology on their daily basis and get affected differently. The manner in which individuals get affected further varies from one person to the other.
This essay focuses on the impact of digital technology on our culture with special emphasis on how youths have been affected by various aspects of digital technology. To achieve this objective, views from three authors have been considered through comparative analysis. These authors are: Charles McGrath, Lakshmi Chaundhry and Will Wright.
In his article, The Pleasures of the text, McGrath analyzes how digital technology has affected the manner in which young people communicate especially using mobile phones. With affordability of mobile phones having risen, messaging has gained preference among young people. He notes that the language of text messaging encompasses a wide range of elements like shorthand contractions, emoticons, acronyms and letter-number homophones (McGrath 1).
He argues that this preference is based on the limited number of characters that a text message can accommodate and the less versatility nature of cell phone screens. He says “But because the typical cell phone screen can accommodate no more than 160 characters, and because the cell phone touchpad is far less versatile than the computer keyboard, text-messaging puts an even greater premium on concision” (McGrath 1).
Because of the emerging texting trends, books have been written for acronyms like CWOT (complete waste of time) (McGrath 1). He further notes that text-messaging has mimicked hip hop so much that most commonly used characteristics are used by hip hoppers say, “a” for “er”. As a result, this form of texting that is common among young people is “lateral” and encourages mindlessness among users.
It is a rude way of expressions especially in Britain where relationships are terminated using such messages. He further affirms that excessive use of this messaging style is common in developing countries where messages are more affordable than voice calls. This has also been promoted by culture like in China where voice messages symbolize rudeness among users (McGrath 1).
On the other hand, Chaundhry argues that technology has created a new era of celebrities as people have endless opportunities to celebrate their heroes online. In his article, Mirror, Mirror on the Web, he notes that becoming a celebrity is no longer an honor in the digital world and that ordinary citizens have significantly grabbed these opportunities.
With the existence of mammoth technological ideas, the world is likely to change in several ways. He refers to this as progressive fantasy which is interlaced with collaboration, change and community (Chaundhry 1).
Furthermore, Web 2.0 allows people to be worshipped, admired and idolized as majority of people derive pleasure in being considered as heroes and heroines. This notion has promoted self-promotion in the digital society as individuals aim at establishing personal fame on the web through countless links and accounts with different social websites. Unlike previous generations when celebs commanded honor and respect for their achievements, digital technology has eliminated the honor of being a celeb.
Due to the public hunger for fame, the media always introduces programs that allow individuals to woo the public as their celebs. Additionally, Chaundhry argues that digital technology has reduced fame to public attention and separated it from the traditional achievements and wealth. As a result, fame has become a commodity that is only acquired through media publicity.
This has its core roots in the young generation that some consider being famous as the definition of American dream. According to Chaundhry, “Since a key component of narcissism is the need to be admired and to be the center of attention, Generation Me’s attraction to fame is inevitable.”You teach kids they’re special” (1).
It therefore suffices to mention that digital technology has promoted the desire for self-promotion and the need to seek public approval. As such, the cultural approach of becoming famous has been replaced with virtual personas among the youths. This obsession augmented by digital technology negates the need for achievement and success that traditionally characterized celebs.
With regard to digital technology and its impact on our culture, Will Wright discusses how computer imaging and videogames have tremendously affected young people in the current generation.
Unlike other forms of games, Wright notes that computer games are played through trial and error method as players rarely go through the manual in order to master rules and directions. However, he reiterates that videogames make young people to believe that the world is a place for creation and not consumption as perceived in olden days of structured learning.
This can therefore be regarded as the impact of videogames on our culture even as we embrace digital technology. In his article, Dream Machines, Wright views videogames from a two-dimensional point of view as he describes the impact of this technology in the society. The negative side of videogames emphasizes the fact that these games are violent and affect the personality of young people who play them (Wright 1).
Children who continuously play videogames usually end up becoming bullies at school or demonstrate some level of violence in their daily interactions. Additionally, videogames are addictive and time wasters. Many young people have replaced healthy and constructive leisure activities like excising with endless videogames which end up eating their time and rendering them into sedentary lifestyles.
As stated by Wright, “Games have the potential to subsume almost all other forms of entertainment media. They can tell us stories, offer us music, give us challenges, allow us to communicate and interact with others, encourage us to make things, connect us to new communities, and let us play” (1).
In other words, they can offer almost everything that a young person would look for in terms of music, tell stories and allow connection and communication among players. With the evolution of technology, videogames are likely to allow development of models to mimic what we like and do (Wright 1).
From the above analysis, it is more evident that digital technology has a wide range of effects to our culture and to the young generation. Chaundhry and McGrath agree with Wright that digital technology has negatively affected our culture. According to the three, this technology affects youths positively and negatively. McGrath discusses how message texting has changed by use of shorthand contractions, emoticons and acronyms.
Similarly, Chaundhry concurs that social networks like YouTube have promoted self-promotion in the society and eliminated the role of achievements and success in defining ones fame. The same stance is taken by Wright who affirms that videogames have negatively affected youths by promoting violence, addiction and wastage of time.
Chaundhry, Lakshmi. “Mirror, Mirror on the Web.” The Nation. 2007. Web. November 3, 2011.
McGrath, Charles. “The Pleasures of the Text”. The New York Times. 2006. Web. November 3, 2011.
Wright, Will. “Dream Machines.” Wired. 2006. Web. November 3, 2011.