Growing Up With The Web

How is growing up with the internet today different than it was for children in the 2000’s?

As someone born at the beginning of the 90’s, I can honestly say I remember a time when things were technologically much simpler and simultaneously more challenging. A time before there was social media, streaming, or even Google. In just the 23 years since the year 2000, the internet has irrefutably established itself as a cornerstone of modern society. An Insider news article, published in 2019, discusses that one of the advantages of being a kid today is that they are nearly always connected to the internet, always reachable, and always communicating. Even within the last 20 years, the ready availability, ease of use, and advancement of technology (particularly cellular phones), there is a stark difference in the manner with which individuals grew up as well as their experiences.

An example of this difference might be the media platform YouTube, invented in 2005, which was originally utilized for sharing personal videos and content. The site quickly evolved into the premiere site for content creation that has even allowed for some users to monetize their creations. Children today are growing up in a whole that is growing infinitely more and more interconnected, though it is believed that the growing dependency on technology may also have some inadvertent negative side effects on development. Some argue that the ever presence of the internet and it’s use for instant communication is beginning to prove detrimental to the development of basic social and interpersonal skills, as well as contributing to the increase of anxiety and depression in younger generations.

With that being said, the presence of the internet in our daily lives is not going away and as the years go by, I believe we will only grow more dependent on its use. As it stands, we are currently able to live our entire lives connected to the internet and never needing to interact with another human being. We can pay our bills online, have our groceries delivered, stream entertainment, communicate with friends or family, earn a living (the rise of the telework job market), and even study or learn new skills. In the last 20 years the internet has gained a vice grip in its involvement in our daily lives, so much so that life even in the 1990s seems difficult to comprehend by today’s youth. I can only imagine how much will change in the next 20 years.

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