This generation is sometimes called the “i”generation. This term tilts at the narcissism, solipsism and nihilism developed by constant focus on the “screen,” lack of social skills and a developed agenda to hide behind avatars, whether those be conformist mentalities, corporatism or locking yourself in your bedroom (Hikikomori).
These changes are a response to increased imagery in the social world, more advanced methods of “push” communication and increased access to video and online content – most of it, rubbish designed to distract. It may not be an issue at all for a generation that has grown up surrounded by devices of all types, but it may be that there are some mental, emotional and physical effects. Time, and studies, will tell. Dorothy Cooper wrote a good article on that topic a few weeks back.
Russel Brand – “That hot tingle in your ear is not a sign that all is hunky-dory on the lughole front..”
There is another name that is also coming into common use, it is “screenagers.” A fairy apt description of the first generation that is connected to the grid constantly. I prefer “cybermen” – coz it hits a different note, moving the arrow slightly away from the easy target of fat teenagers.
A nod to the emergence of a new type of “connected” man. Not quite the “cyborg,” with the complete lack of emotionality that term implies, but a nucleoid, protohuman with piped jingoism in his ears, an atavistic nature and a visceral aversion to deep thinking. You’ll find this one everywhere online; the troglodyte trash talker.
Our agenda (*Adventure Therapy Ireland) is obviously to bring young people outdoors and into the wild to experience nature, chillax and recharge (the coporeal batteries). Technology is not exclusively the issue here, neither is it is individualised content.
“From a purely cognitive perspective, positioning yourself in a powerless, crouched position can make your brain more predisposed towards hopelessness, as well as more likely to recall depressive memories and thoughts. Researchers say this phenomenon is ingrained in our biology and traces back to how body language is “closely tied to dominance across the animal kingdom,” as Cuddy writes in her new book, Presence.
So what’s the best way to ensure you feel powerful in both body and mind? Lets start with some simple stuff…
Erik Peper, a professor who studies psychophysiology at San Francisco State University, advises checking your posture every hour to make sure you’re not in the iHunch, or iPosture, position. He also advises bringing smaller devices up to your face while in use instead of forcing yourself to look downward at them in a collapsed position.”
We would look for the balance between computer time and physical exercise, reasonable food and active outdoor activity. Our societies should be able to grant these basics, but as often happens, there needs to be a voice for healthiness, especially when it’s cheaper than the alternative 700 dollar phone.
I run two companies, both with a divergent ethos and seemingly contradictory goals. AD360 is a web company, fully conversant with digital media and the online world. It is specifically a social automation and virtual reality company. Adventure Therapy Ireland is focused on real world issues, one of which is continuing exposure to digital media.
Wearing these two hats is, prima facia, a contradiction. On deeper examination, one supports the other in numerous ways. Technology is not, in itself “bad” – dualistic constructs, my bete noire. Using solar panels reduces dependency on Royal Dutch Shell. GPS and the US military get me round the mountains in one piece. Gore Tex, Nylon and DuPont covers my bony backside. I’m not even going to talk about the butane stove and neoprene wetsuit.
It is a holding two complementary tools and using them to further different ends. One is a work company, the other is a leisure vehicle – both can use technology to make life easier, i.e, better communications, better gear, better navigation tools. Where the danger lies is addiction, in this case to digital media. We are both gamekeepers and poachers. “Set a thief (of time) to catch a thief, and all that.”
I’m going to coin a phrase for the positive use of technology, both current and future. It is the “cybermen project,” using innovation, capacity and the network society to drive effective changes. No, not the Donnie Rumsfeld/Dick Cheney type of “capacity building.” Technology used in an efficient manner to facilitate, rather than trap little hamsters on plastic spinning wheels.
The “golden mean” is an emergent, evolutionary, practical use of technology. This model synthesizes tools, thought and tech – it is an approach for the young(at heart), the creative and constructivist.
Here is a statistic about Windpower – Wind energy now covers 11.6% of the EU’s electricity demand.
One about Solar – Germany has target of 35% overall electricity from renewables by 2020
One about EV – China demands that 8% of new vehicles are electric
One about Hydroponics – A French company called Cycloponics produces mushrooms in a disused Parisian parking garage.
There is plenty more, never published on main stream media, never getting the headlines, but developing, forming and growing.
Here are some of my own Koans …
If all of the credible people are on one side of “global warming” and the “incredibles” on the other, where is the debate?
Global terror is defeated by liquids in quantities under 200mls, in a plastic bag.
Does Facebook really want your phone number for your “security”? After all, you’ve told 500 people where you are, what course you’re on and who you’re with…probably all the info a good burglar needs.
Main stream media should really be called main street media. Young people are not stupid, they don’t buy newspapers.
When they say “remote control for life,” it means them controlling you, via your connected apps.
Nobody is “saving” the planet. Retaining biodiversity, fishing responsibly, avoiding polluting ground water and reducing cancerous emissions will do to improve the (human) habitat.
Stupid memes:”Why do they hate us?” Response: Ask Google. Longer Response – your binary formulation, cognitive framing and ingroup influence peddling is nicely parsed, dickhead.
Bonus question: Who is Ban Ki Moon?
That’s enough for now. Get outside – while you, and the fresh air, is still free.