Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Why the Internet Hates Tweens

Social networks. How many of these are you familiar with?
The internet has been a staple to our lives with the emergence of the digital age. It is here where we learn something new everyday as we search through blogs, read the news, and even know what's happening to our friends. The influence of the internet is vast enough to the point that it can even alter our perspectives on life and people in general.

This is also where we cheer ourselves up after a day's worth of hell at work or where we would all procrastinate when the homework piles up. (Admit it. We have all done this in our lives. Well, the kids, teens and young adults here in general...) We also use the internet to help ourselves in answering home works or even in trying to figure out who Luca Pacioli is. (Random fact: Yup, he's a mathematician, and he is also known as the Father of Accounting.) In this day and age, we have access to information in an instant. Just sit in front of a computer or have your mobile device in a wi-fi zone, and you're good to go!

In this fast-changing world, it is inevitable that the kids of today will have easier access to the internet and will also get to access all the same things that we get to, including R-18 websites. Kids can now get to know about stuff much, much earlier than they should. They will get to see the darker side of adulthood much earlier than they are ready to... much earlier than the time they become mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally mature enough to comprehend the consequences. Then they go on and try those crazy, stupid things that adults do, but still naive as ever.

Purple skin? Green hair?
And then, on the other side of the screen, people all over the world are laughing at their sheer stupidity after these kids angst over the consequences of what they did at the wrong time. What people simply do not understand is the wide influence of the internet over people, especially tweens, whose minds are still developing at an exponential rate. It is at this life stage where they are experimenting, trying to get a grasp of what life will be as adults. They then try the things that grown-ups do and hurry up to be like them. The media influences them to act like grown-ups because they are already getting there.

It is at this stage where boys begin and where toys end (for girls. I can't think of a similar rhyming pun for boys.) This is when people, especially girls, start to give a damn about how they look. The picture on the right is an experiment a girl did to try and look cute. Little did she know that this picture would spread all over the internet as the first result of the search query for 'epic fail' on Google.

Not only in these pictures do we see examples of why the internet hates them. We also see apparent examples of this hatred in viral videos such as Hot Problems and Friday. These are both videos featuring teenage girls who aspire to be famous. Why? Because the internet has taught them that bad is the new good, and that horrible videos often get more comments and views than quality ones. Furthermore, because YouTube is an easier way to fame, they took advantage of 'bad is the new good' and achieved 'success' in the form of insults. In this day and age, it seems that views and comments, no matter how bad, on our posts are the new status symbols. (As for me, I don't really care about those. I just like to blog.)

The same thing also happens in fanfiction, the ultimate domain for aspiring writers everywhere, and is a site for teenagers to fulfill their dream to be the next JK Rowling. The good fanfics don't really get as much reviews as bad ones, unfortunately. The infamy of My Immortal simply proves this with its whopping >10,000 reviews. This fanfic perfectly parodies the turbulent hormones of the adolescent, awful grammar brought about by kids not taking their grammar lessons seriously (because the internet taught them that it is cooler to say 'luv u' instead of 'I love you'), and the stereotypically angst-filled teenage goth culture. I also studied this myself and have finally confirmed this to be true when I myself wrote One Less Lonely Gurl.

But in the end, it is all the fault of the grownups who run the media, teaching young girls everywhere to be all the same, stick-thin androids that they want to be. And, this 'want' actually stems from media's very definition of what beauty is, something that everyone must live up to. In the wise words of Simple Plan...
Tell me what's wrong with society
When everywhere I look, I see
Young girls dying to be on TV
They won't stop till they've reached their dreams

Diet pills, surgery

Photoshopped pictures in magazines
Telling them how they should be
It doesn't make sense to me

Is everybody going crazy?

Is anybody gonna save me?
Can anybody tell me what's going on?
Tell me what's going on?
If you open your eyes
You'll see that something is wrong
Really. None of this makes sense to me. If the internet is teaching the youngsters to make awful pop songs, post them on youtube for attention, and starve themselves just to be beautiful... but get mocked in the end... it is the fault of the same grownups who laugh at their stupidity. The grown-ups are the ones who started this mess in the first place, as if they were never tweens in the first place who have most likely done stupid things in the past and regretted them later on.

Now, I am not saying that tweens have no responsibility at all for their actions; they will still have to face the consequences of whatever they have done. It is just that parents should really teach the kids to not just believe everything the internet tells them about how they should be, to stay true to their values, and to be careful with the decisions they make. This life stage of being a teenager is the most crucial in developing someone's personality as s/he discovers who s/he really is.

The internet has brainwashed all of us into thinking that tweens are all stupid people who never learn from their mistakes, but they aren't. It's just that majority of tweens nowadays have values that are not very well-formed because of the influence of the internet, irresponsible parents, and the distorted media themselves. And all of this is coming from a 19-year-old boy who knows better, what, from all his experiences as a teenager. (Even the guys do the same stupid stuff, but double standards seem to impede all progress of feminism, so it's mostly the girls who get hated on.)

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