McMillan and Morrison talk about the role of interactive technologies (i.e., computers and/or internet) and the influence it has on each member of the family, in their study entitled “Coming of age with the Internet” McMillan and Morrison compare different generations of family members and their familiarity and uses for the internet. In one instance one of the participants named “Brian” speaks about how the internet and interactive technologies have profoundly influenced his life. Brian states that because of the information he has received on the internet he no longer chooses to eat red meat and has chosen to buy foods that are entirely organic. In today’s society, information has become readily available to us with just a click of a mouse. This makes it exceptionally easy for us to make informed decisions about all aspects of our lives including, what we know about the world around us, who we listen to poetically, musically, politically and what we eat or chose not to eat. Just last year I wanted to know exactly what ingredients were in my Strawberry yogurt. After researching this for just a couple of minutes, I found out that Cochineal insects are used in some yogurts, other dairy products and even cosmetics to create a crimson carmine-colored dye which is used for food coloring. Since that day I have stayed away from any food product which has carmine as an ingredient.
Another common theme that was brought up within the text was the idea that the Internet has now made it easier for families, particularly those in faraway states to stay in touch. Having family that live in various other countries, I understand that the internet and other interactive technologies such as Facebook and MySpace can serve as a tool for staying in touch with our loved ones; however, I believe that it has also taken away from our ability to have interpersonal relationships with others. The internet has been beneficial in the respect that it gives us another outlet to communicate with family members and friends but, it has diminished the value of using other more personal and antique ways of staying in touch with others such as, calling them or writing a letter. In the study there was a participant who stated by communicating with someone over the Internet we lose on some of life's precious moments and the ability to use self-expression for instance, hearing someone's voice or laughter etc. I was even shocked to hear some individuals say that if it weren’t for the internet they would not talk to their parents as frequently. I found that to be incredibly sad and unfortunate.
From reading this article, I have come to realize that Americans as well as individuals from all over the world have lost some sense of reality. Adults as well as, adolescents have neglected to engage in recreation activities with friends by participating in sports and other outdoor games in favor of staying inside to play computer generated video games with a person halfway around the country. Everyday teens are spending hours on chartrooms creating suedo names and an assortment of alter egos so that they can somehow fit in or gain acceptance from others, often feeling that who they really are isn’t good enough. Much like the ideal showcased in tough guise, that a male adolescent has to be or act tough to gain acceptance from one’s peers at school. The Media has taught us to believe that our personal characteristics, ideals, beliefs and values that shape who we are, is not sufficient. So instead, it invites us to tell falsehoods about ourselves so that we can sound more appealing to others. It is true that most grandparents and parents are not as technology savvy as the younger generations in their own family then again, I believe that this is a good thing because they are not as easily influenced by the media and all of its bells and whistles. So I ask the class, when has it become okay to favor a friend in the virtual world for a real one?
- Here is an episode of True Life on MTV, it is called "I Live Another Life On the Web" It is about three young women who have made up alteregos on the web that are completely opposte from themselves. The sad thing is that these girls, especially one in particular believes that nonody understands her except for the friends that she has in the virtual world.