For this project, so far most of my work has been on the written portion. I have been collecting information from various news articles about a new curriculum in India which is working toward teaching children how to be safe on the internet. Google has introduced the program along with the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
The biggest difficulty with this project is finding sources who agree to do an audio / video interview with me. I initially reached out to more people than I needed to with the assumption that some of them would say no, and I thought that since I had asked so many people that at least some of them would agree. Now, I am finding that most are saying no and despite the fact that I was proactive and asked more people than necessary, I am still scrambling to find sources. Thankfully, I have a video interview later today for this project and an audio interview on Monday, but I still need to find two more people to video interview.
I have completed one audio interview, and my source was very enthusiastic about the topic and offered a lot of information. She is a marketing professor, so we were able to talk about the differences between how kids and adults are targeted online and how that may have a harmful impact on children.
Another thing I am struggling with in this project is the pictures aspect. My story is about kids using the internet, so I am thinking that I will take some pictures of computers, cell phones, and other digital devices with the internet. However, I feel like this would start to get repetitive after a while so I am having trouble thinking of other approaches I could take.
I hope that my other sources I have scheduled interviews with are like the marketing professor, and I hope that I can continue to keep scheduling interviews and finding other approaches to taking pictures.
These four articles discussed whether or not new communication technologies are helping or hurting us. In the first article titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” the author points out how since the development of new communication technologies, he has had trouble keeping his mind focused on lengthier tasks. Because new communication technologies are able to give us the information we want without us having to think, we as humans have forgotten how to think. This somewhat relates to the article “Why I Just Asked My Students to Put Their Laptops Away”. In this article, the author discusses how it is biologically impossible to resist checking our phones when they beep and light up with a new notification. This shows how quickly we abandon one task to go to another because our brains are automatically drawn to whatever is happening in our phones.
On the other hand, the article “Does the Internet Make You Smarter” suggests that we should not be fearful of new communication technologies. The author mentions how once there was a time when people were fearful of writing because they didn’t think they would remember spoken word anymore. This implies that there may come a time in the future where people wonder why we were so fearful of new communication technologies because they turned out to be way more helpful than ever imagined. This ties into the article “The Cultural Theory of YouTube” when the author discusses how YouTube is beneficial in terms of generating all different kinds of content and having them all intermingle with each other.
This article was interesting to read because it highlighted different people’s responses to new communication technologies. It explains that as different technological means of communication arise, different meanings and associations become acquainted with the new development. The article discusses three different ways new communication technologies are viewed: Technological determinism, social construction of technology, and social shaping perspective.
Technological determinism suggests that when new forms of technological communication come to be, they are unavoidable and weave their way into society and force negative changes upon us that are impossible to defy. Author Nick Carr wrote about how he has felt his ways of thinking shift. He says that he cannot read for long periods of time anymore and he does not think as in-depth as he used to. He blames this on new communication technologies and their ability to quickly gather information for us without us having to think. He suggests that this is what has caused his inability to think for long periods of time.
Social construction of technology believes that people dominate over technology and are the ones who decide how new communication technologies change and how they are used. As people change and develop over time, technology changes to match what it is that we as humans need. People also decide which technologies are worthy of their use based on their capabilities. These are then the most commonly used technologies amongst society.
Social shaping perspective is a combination of both technological determinism and social construction of technology. Social shaping perspective believes that people influence technology just as much as technology influences people. Along with the social shaping perspective comes the domestication of new communication technologies. This occurs when what was once a “cool” technological device become so frequently used and taken for granted in society that it is normalized and standard to have it. If you don’t have it, you are behind the rest of society.
Reading all three of these opinions, I think I would have to agree most with the social shaping perspective. Blaming the internet for society’s downfall (technological determinism) seems very childish, because it suggests that humans are not accountable for their actions. On the other hand, saying that technology does not influence people at all also seems false, because why else would we have technology in the first place? As with most cases, the middle ground (social shaping perspective) accounts for the inaccuracies in both arguments and provides a more logical stance on the issue. Page 13 of the article says “The problem with people and the Internet is not the Internet but what people do with it”. This quote perfectly explains that even though the Internet and other new communication technologies may get us into sticky situations, we need to take responsibility for those actions.
These four articles all share Facebook and other social media as their main theme. In reading Facebook Making us Lonely, I was fascinated by the statistics. They stated that in 1950, American households with only one person were less than 10 percent. In 2010, that number increased to 27 percent. The article tells the reader this statistic to show how much more lonely we have become, but I do not necessarily think this statistic shows that. If we look at the average household from the 1950’s, we will probably find children, a husband who goes to work everyday, and a wife who stays home and takes care of the children while maintaining the house. It is difficult for me to believe that every woman was happy in this position. As time has progressed, I think more women have been able to free themselves from this unfulfilling position, resulting in a larger increase of the population living by themselves. Maybe they do still feel lonely because they do not have anyone to share their home with, but they probably felt the same or worse before.
I was already skeptical of this first article (Facebook Making us Lonely) while reading it, and the article Facebook is not Making us Lonely seemed to back up some of my criticisms of the first article. In Facebook is not Making us Lonely, the author brings up a statistic mentioned in Facebook Making us Lonely. The statistic is as follows: “A 2010 AARP survey found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely, as opposed to 20 percent of a similar group only a decade earlier.” However, in Facebook is not Making us Lonely, the author points out that the vast majority of avid Facebook users are younger generations. So while this statistic may be true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook is the reason for loneliness. If they wanted to prove that Facebook was causing loneliness, they should have turned to the generation of more frequent Facebook users. One of the other important refutations the article Facebook is not Making us Lonely against the article Facebook Making us Lonely is the argument about how neighbors never knock on each others doors anymore because now they call. Facebook is not Making us Lonely points out that this is false, and that neighbors will call, and then knock on each others doors. Based on my own experience, I find this to be completely true. We call our neighbors to see when/if they are available to join us for lunch, visit with us, etc. and then we see them.
In the article The Intimacy of Anonymity, I thought it was interesting to read about how our online posts differ when people either know or don’t know who we are. The article uses the Whisper and Secret apps to show that when people don’t know who we are, that is when we expose what we are actually feeling and we offer a more authentic version of ourselves. This is most likely because we will feel vulnerable if we exposed who we truly are. While expressing your feelings is great, I am not particularly a fan of anonymity. If you want to express yourself privately there are other ways of doing so, like in a journal. The reason I am against anonymity is because it does not hold people accountable for their racist, sexist, offensive behaviors. Since there is no way to trace it back, anonymity allows these negative behaviors to persist without ramifications. And, obviously, when you’re talking to anonymous people there is a greater chance you could be talking with people who go anonymous for unspeakable reasons.
While reading One Name to Rule Them All: Facebook’s Identity Problem I was very confused as to why Facebook polices people’s names the way they do. I think that as long as somebody’s name does not include anything offensive, it should be all good to go. I do however wish that the article would have showed the names that were being policed so that way the reader can make a more accurate assessment about weather or not they agree with Facebooks policy which disapproves of their names. Facebooks “Real Name Policy” is said to protect its users against harassment, trolling, racism, and misogyny, but I think that Facebook should be cracking down on other cases to prevent these issues, not forcing drag queens to change their names. The article mentions how for most people, filling out our names is such a basic task that requires little to no thought for most of us. Reading this made me realize how privileged I am that I have never had to deal with any injustices such as this.