The ‘online generation’, the generation of Facebook, Twitter, Xbox, Tinder and many more media platforms- that’s my generation. I’d be lying if I said I never grew up with any media influences, we’ve all played ‘Crash Bandicoot’ at some stage in our lives. But what about the children today, would they be considered the same as me when I was a child? When I was seven I played Pokémon, and ten years later my cousin is now seven and has an iPhone.
We were born in a world where we are exposed to the media at such a young age, and each and every one of us has been growing up ‘online’. Over the past few years, the media has evolved to greater lengths and we have access to any and all content, which makes life easier doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, one of the most recent parental anxieties about the media is the loss of innocence and naivety of youths when exposed to the media. Violence, cyber-bullying, sexting, cyber-stalking … all of these factors and more are being exposed to youths, and some are having an influence on their behaviour. But who is really to blame?
Let’s look at Facebook- a highly popular form of social media where anybody can make a free account and maintain a presence online. But there lies the problem- it’s so easy to create an account! Although the ‘recommended age’ for Facebook is 13, many young individuals can easily create an account and pose as a 20-year-old. Same for media platforms like YouTube, you can claim you’re 18 and have unrestricted access to anything the media offers. Not only this, but there is no limit to how many accounts you can create, for example you could have one account where you’re Eliza, and another where you’re Natasha! This then provokes the notions of cyber-stalking, sexting and cyber-bullying, because ‘nobody can find out who I really am’.
On the flip-side of youths creating fake accounts, the biggest issue with social media and youths, is the naivety of youths and how trusting they are of social media.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jMhMVEjEQg <- click here to check out more!
In this YouTube social experiment, a man got the permission of three girls’ parents to add them on Facebook and claim he was 15. He then arranged to meet them in person, and all three girls agreed to do so. In these circumstances, where the child begins trusting the media platform, many parents are so quick to judge that it’s the media’s fault for not properly protecting their children from these attacks on their innocence. However, in the last scenario of this video, the mother clearly says “We watch the news about this together“.
Because the media is easy to access, so many individuals are quick to blame the media for the lack of protection for their children, because it’s easier to blame someone else for their/their child’s mistakes than to find the real cause.
What do you think? Is it the media’s fault? The parents’ fault? Or is it the fault of the child?
Thank you for reading!