“I feel the problem is that we’re not represented in our culture. We don’t create it and it’s not born of anything of us”

March 15th, 2008  |  Published in media queue

The title to this post is from a young person quoted in Susan Herrig‘s article Questioning the generational divide: Technological exoticism and adult construction of online youth identity. (In: D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 71-94). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) which deals with the differing perspectives of digital media from adults and youth.

I found the discussion of how youth use media pretty interesting:

Young people use new technologies for social ends that are much the same as for earlier
generations using old technologies. Young people instant message, text message, or email their friends much as my Baby Boomer generation talked on landline telephones. They abbreviate and use language creatively to signal their in-group identity, much as my friends and I wrote backwards (manipulating the affordances of the hand-written
medium) and created special writing conventions to pass notes in class. They flirt online, while we flirted on the phone or in the hallways at school. They express their daily angst in blogs, whereas my generation kept hand-written diaries. They painstakingly craft their profiles in social networking sites to win the approval of their peers, while we dressed up to be “seen” hanging out at school dances and community youth events. Moreover, “search engines [function] as a library, … product-based sites as a mall, and downloadable movies and games as a theater or video arcade.” As was also true when I was young, the ends are more interesting and important to the participants than the technological means, especially if the means have been available all one’s life.

as well as the discussion of some possible motivating factors of youth technology use:

Moreover, contrary to the stereotype that the digital generation is enamored of technology, for many youth, technology use may not be the most fun activity, but rather what is most available, a substitute for something they would rather do. In a recent survey of media use by 6-17 year olds in the U.K, a majority of teens said that they would rather go out to a movie or do something with friends than stay home and consume media, and they complained that their neighborhoods did not provide enough activities for youth. Increasingly, parents are afraid to let their children go out for fear that they will not be safe, especially in urban areas. According to new media researcher Henry Jenkins, more elaborate indoor media environments have evolved to compensate for unsafe or otherwise inhospitable outdoor environments. danah boyd, in her chapter in this volume, argues that social networking spaces such as MySpace.com substitute for traditional offline hangouts, whose numbers have dwindled dramatically in recent decades in the U.S.

Link to PDF of article.