Generation InternetBefore the 1990s the internet did not exist and when it did, it was still not seen as a necessity, which is hard to believe now that we don't go an entire day without logging in to check the news or looking up some random fact to prove your friend wrong. The internet has become a platform for people to connect and share their lives with millions of others; nonetheless, with every new invention comes backlash and criticism. Many older generation members argue that the “age of the internet” has made younger generations worse at communication. For example losing the skill of listening or understanding. Now at this point many people will start saying “well that is true and…”, but it is not true.
The internet has become a bond that brings generations of people with all different stories together. Through Facebook, instagram, Snapchat, twitter, and even older platforms that people almost forgot about like MySpace, has created this phenomena where I can directly talk to someone on the other side of the world.
I can comment on a picture and ask questions to a student in South Africa or learn something new from a college graduate or see what it is like to grow up in Nepal.
We have all somehow ended up on the dark and whimsical outer edges of the internet and social media and wonder how in the world did you end up figuring out that you are worth nine goats in Nigeria, or stumble in on some heated argument about politics or even worse. Though those parts may paint a negative image of this platform, the internet has also been home to where many people can relate to people and know that they are not alone, a privilege previous generations are unfamiliar with. For a student who has different interests or is depressed and needs someone to listen they can use the internet as a platform where thousands of others will gladly help and comfort a stranger. Rising entrepreneurs and artist can use the platform to showcase their products. Refugees and immigrants can advocate and explain what their lives are like. Arguably the best, is relating to millions of strangers through memes (mēm/ noun/ a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied, often with slight variations, and spread rapidly by Internet users).
Personally, a strong example of where the world came together and had empathy for a complete stranger in a different culture and society, was when a photograph of a Syrian boy covered in dust and dirt from the merciless bombing in Aleppo went viral. Before the internet many places around the world would not receive any attention while thousands of people would die; however, now the world can stand up for human rights across oceans and fight for justice whether it by bringing awareness and drawing attention to important issues of our world or contributing to foundations that stand for the right causes. Empathy is a skill that is always needed more of in our world. Though the internet is restricted/censored in some countries, it has been the the final catalyst that helped launch hundreds of issues that needed to be addressed to the spotlight in the 21st century. Recent events of this includes the LGBTQ+ marriage rights which received major support from around the world with #loveislove. Other prime examples include racial issues with #blacklivesmatter and the most recent one on Saturday, 21st of January which was the women's march and the pussyhat trend that all started with one women who decided to take her march idea to the internet.
The internet, in the short time it has lived, has helped us as a global community to tighten our bonds across oceans by putting us one click away from each other. Empathy for strangers are increased every day as the young generation log in to their social media platforms and are fed information from all over the world. The internet is an ever growing platform that is a universe in itself and like the universe we live in, it is constantly expanding towards unknown territories. So the next time someone says that the new generation has lost its communication skills, just remind them of millions of reasons why the internet is a platform that has just brought us a step closer to the world and each other.