New Tech, Ungrateful Kids

Every holiday season, there’s a list of “must haves” for kids and teens. In recent years, computers, phones, and cars top that list, with the Apple brand in particular acting almost like a status symbol according to a blog by Tim Traux. With the new Microsoft Surface Tablet coming out (and the new Windows 8 OS to boot), society keeps gaining more toys to become even more technologically advanced. However, are we really becoming “technologically advanced?” Or, should I say, are we becoming more “technologically spoiled?”

Technology is everywhere and most of us wouldn’t be able to survive without it. We have become overdependent on things such as the internet that we usually take it for granted. Instead of being grateful for what they have, people start becoming picky and have preferences as to which tech to have. In general, when people don’t get what they want, they start acting up. Last year’s article on gizmodo makes this apparent as it reveals the dissatisfaction of teens with their parents for not getting them the latest tech.

It appears people yearn to be part of what’s popular and what they see their peers are into. Staying connected with “what’s hot” has become so prevalent in today’s society that it takes up a great deal of our free time and builds anxiety as pointed out by ktkalina in the case of social networking. It makes me wonder why people want to be part of the “in-crowd” so badly. Why do we feel the need to be accepted in society by people who we could care less about? So much so that we begin losing sight of the people who do care about us and all the effort and hard work they do for us. Why do we so badly seek that “human connection” as proposed by ljudetinnan?

The theme of following popularity trends just happens be in this week’s reading where Boyd talks about the myspace/facebook divide. To stay connected with their family and friends, a large majority of people switched over from myspace to facebook. Boyd brings up an interesting idea to this transition: teenagers relate certain features with certain racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups. Facebook is seen as more mature and college-orientated whereas myspace is more expressive for inspiring artists. Since certain people tend to use one more than the other, stereotypes begin to arise. To identify and be associated with a particular group of people, people use the technology in which they find suitable. Could this be the reason why we are so picky with our technology? Does what we use really tie in with our identity? Instead of wanting to use the latest tech, are we innately afraid of being classified with the certain group of people who doesn’t use it?

I honestly don’t know and I feel people (including myself) think too much about it. As Bowling for Soup puts it, “High School Never Ends”…

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11 responses to “New Tech, Ungrateful Kids

  1. I do feel like switching from technology to technology becomes pretty trendy, especially in recent years. People can get caught up in the looks and outer appearance of things and not take into consideration what they’re actually getting themselves into.

    For example, over the summer i dropped my phone in the pool on accident and had to go buy a new one. I was really close to caving in and buying an iPhone like every one else when i realized “Wait, why on earth do I need this thing? I have a laptop, I have internet elsewhere, why do I need to be able to check my Facebook from everywhere on earth?”.

    Sure, that iPhone would have looked pretty slick in my pocket but in reality all I use my phone for is texting and phone calls, so I’m perfectly fine with the brick of a mobile device that i call my cell phone. It works, and that’s all I need it to do.

  2. I totally agree with you. We are becoming technologically spoiled. As I was reading this article, I totally realized that I am very technologically spoiled! I do complain when my insane technology isn’t top notch, which is totally wrong. I should be happy that I have technology at all! I don’t necessarily think I worry about being popular with what’s the latest and greatest, but I think that I want the latest and greatest things because they’re just that: the greatest. I do want the best technology available because it has the most use for me. Am i subconsciously doing it to be popular?

  3. I was thinking the same exact thing as Jazmyn. Reflecting on my life, I have been very privileged when it comes to technology. My aunt always makes sure that I am up to date with the newest thing out on the market. I have had them all: cell phones (Razors, Blackberrys iPhones), iPods (mini, shuffle, touch), laptops (Toshiba tablets, MacBooks), game systems (PS2, PS3, Wii) etc.. I guess I would definitely consider myself “technologically spoiled.”
    But all of this technology to me is artificial. Sure, it is cool to be able to show it off to your friends or family, but at the end of the day I don’t feel anymore of a better person just because I have the newest technology. Over the last century, technology has definitely contributed to the division among social classes, between rich and poor. But I wish it wasn’t like this. I feel that regardless of social class, everyone should have the same access and opportunities to technology.

  4. I agree with the comments above, but I also think that having a desire for the latest technology is just part of who we are as humans. There’s always been that saying of “trying to keep up with the Jones” and I think technology is just one part of that. People want the latest and greatest of tons of different things such as cars, houses, clothes and music. Technology is such an integral part of our lives so of course that would be included in the list of things we want the newest and best of. So, when we buy something hot and new, we feel good about ourselves because we feel one step ahead of others. But, as soon as our technology becomes “outdated” we feel as though we are inferior to those who have newer technology.

    Are we technologically spoiled? Of course we are. Even having access to regular telephones makes us spoiled. I went to South Africa this past summer and visited some of the most impoverished villages. These people were lucky to have a TV or radio and it was especially rare to see someone with a car. Those are all things we take for granted. And kids here in America complain because they got a playstation instead of an xbox for Christmas. It’s pretty ridiculous! But, how would it affect us socially if we rarely updated our technology? I mean we live in a world where technology is being updated constantly and eventually you will need to update yourself. So, how long should we wait to update our technology in order to not be “technologically spoiled?”

  5. I think this is just one example of how the entitlement mentality has become absolutely pervasive in our society. Children clamoring and crying about not getting an iPhone is simply a result of this mindset.

    Granted, access to technology is limited to lower income individuals, and this is a problem. However, I think it is a stretch to say that these people deserve “equal-access” and that the government needs to provide it to them.

    Should individuals and groups work to ensure greater access to technology for lower income individuals? Yes. Do we need government assistance in this regard? No.

  6. I agree with Jordan, and the comments above that we are technologically spoiled. Technology has become almost a status symbol as a desire to be “in.” Society also pressures us to keep up with the changing technology. I am in the market for a new phone, but unfortunately, all the phones that are decent are smartphones that are capable of way more than I need my phone to do: text and call. The cell phone providers seem to be phasing out service for “dumb phones” and encouraging their costumers to purchase smartphones instead. Why this push for smartphones? do I really need to check Facebook and email all the time? NO!

    I have also found that, especially with Apple products, that as newer versions of the same technology (iphones, ipods, ipads, etc.) the older versions simply don’t work as well with the new software advancements and newer versions of apps, thus almost forcing users to purchase the “upgraded” device. So yes, we are living in a technologically spoiled world, but not completely because of our own desires to be cool or popular, but because of technology’s ever changing and advancing, it forces us to have the latest and greatest technology available.

  7. I like the point you’ve brought up about identity. Technology does seem to have become another way in which we stereotype. Stereotypes for Mac users and PC users are particularly relevant (http://dylit.blogspot.com/2010/02/mac-vs-pc.html). I often hear PC users insulting Mac users, and vice versa, as if they each have some fundamental characteristics (like “nerdy” or “pretty boy”) just because they use different computers.

    I doubt any of us consciously buy certain products because we feel we fit the identity stereotypes embedded in them, but we might do this subconsciously.

    This popular video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkrn6ecxthM) is another example of the PC-Mac stereotyping, but also lists all the functionalities of Macs and PCs. It is useful to consider how these stereotypes arose. PCs do have greater use for gaming and messing around with computer programming (i.e., “nerdy” hobbies), whereas Macs have a clean, business-like interface, and a higher price range (i.e., “rich person” qualities). It is hard to say whether we choose between Macs and PCs based upon the stereotypes put forward by the public and the media that lead us to believe that one is more pertinent to our identities, or because we feel one’s functionality is simply better suited to our needs.

    For example, if I remember correctly, my transition to Macs occurred in part because I preferred their appearance and easy use, and in part because my mother (the comfortably middle-class, business type) encouraged me to like them. So, there may have been somewhat of a link between my identity and product preference.

  8. I tend to agree with Sydney: I think this craving for the latest and greatest technology is just a form of natural human competition and desire to fit in, both of which are ample among children. I know when I was younger, there was always some new toy or game that everyone had to have. I don’t think the need to keep up with the trends has changed or escalated, just the type of product (and expense) required to do so.

    However, anyone complaining about a gift is equally as appalling now as it has ever been, especially when considering these big ticket items such as smart phones and computers. I mean, these are the same items that children’s parents either want or need. In that way I think technology seems to be leveling the playing field and creating more entitlement among children, as Tim mentioned.

    Is complaining about the wrong colored iPad any different than complaining about the wrong colored Furby? Yes and no. I think it stems from the same motives and reflects the same lack of appreciation, but mostly likely far fewer hours were logged at work for a parent to afford a traditional toy, as opposed to cutting-edge technology.

  9. I think we are kind of spoiled on technology, but I don’t think that’s quite a bad thing. It used to be that the spoiled kids were the ones with portable cd players, hand-held internet devices, laptops, PCs, GPS in their cars, cell phones, and so on. Now the functions of all those pieces of technology have been consolidated into single devices that are affordable for most people. Consequently, the gap between the spoiled and non-spoiled kids seems a lot more artificial. Now the spoiled kids are the ones who get a new Ipad every year while the non-spoiled kids are the ones who have to settle for a crappy Kindle Fire (or something along those lines).

  10. I don’t think we are spoiled on technology. When you have all of your needs met (food, housing, education, information) and right at your fingertips, you can afford to spend resources on almost arbitrary decisions such as “mac or PC” or what type of phone to buy.
    At the same time I feel like current technology has plateaued and it is affordable to buy single devices that can browse the internet (or perform other kinds of useful tasks) for such a large proportion of the population that calling them “spoiled” seems dubious. All you need to be part of the “in-crowd” is a facebook account. My perspective is probably warped since I don’t interact with many middle or highschoolers, but most of the people I know don’t buy ipads or other “high tech” devices to keep up with their friends, but for themselves.

  11. This is a great article and I agree with most of what everyone has commented about. I think that we are spoiled by technology and it is making some people lazy and not competent without using it. It is hard to imagine if all of our computer technology or even the internet disappeared, I don’t think a lot of people would know what to do. In addition, I think that our business activity would be halted as well. At my work, my whole job centers around computers and other technology and I couldn’t imagine doing my job without it…I guess I have become spoiled by the technology!

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