Images & Writing by Jay Ulrich

Lots of changes have occurred between the early 90’s and the early 2010’s. As a senior this year, I’ve noticed a lot of the different changes that we have between my generation and today’s. Born in the 90’s, we didn’t have extreme excess to computers or game systems that now every kid has. We did have computers, but our internet started out on AOL compact discs and the best graphic game system was the Dream cast; Things that most kids now a day’s never even heard of. We have advancement in technology that is rapidly inclining as we advance software, and build easier alternatives to daily tasks. We could very much say that the next generation of kids will not know a world without computers, or an easy life. Even experiencing some of the time without the need of technology as a 90’s kid, the later part of my life eventually revolved around the computer and more so than ever today. Is that necessarily a positive result with the advancement in computers?

To say that this era of new technology is entirely a good thing would be a bit of an overstatement. We’ve developed faster computers, lighter mobile phones, and since the 2000’s the availability of internet and phone access has increased. A 2008 Pew Internet and American Life Project Study states that only ten percent of US adults use dial-up internet access. According to United States Federal Communications Commission in 2010 it was 6 percent. A main reason for this is that advancement in technology occurred and produced Broad-Band Internet and Cable, to produce a faster and cheaper way of surfing the internet. With this newer availability of internet, companies have been finding their way over the years to broaden their target audience from mainly adults to kids. Computer games are a consumption of children’s time now a day and even hook them till their mid to late twenties. Examples like Sims Series, Star Craft, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Farmville.

New companies were trying to connect to gaming industry with the idea that you didn’t need to be in the same room or even country to play a game of scrabble online. Through Social Networking, we’ve given a whole new perspective of communication between friends. Social networking has evolved from Friendster (2002-03) followed by MySpace (2004-06) and ultimately replaced by Facebook (2007 – ). Networking between friends and staying in touch not only became easier, but more impersonal. A phone call was easily replaced with Instant Messaging and for some has replaced verbal communication between people. It’s not entirely a bad thing, and many prefer the non-verbal attention, but it really dampens the idea of the socially awkward coming out of their shells, and more inviting others to hinder their social lives.

Ultimately, there were some setbacks that came with the advancement of technology, but I would say there is a better outcome because of it. Gaming takes a lot of your time sitting in one spot when a decade ago you were more likely to be found rollerblading or being active in some way. Any activity at all these days is usually done for the idea of ‘getting your exercise in’ instead of playing sports or outdoor games for fun. It should be a priority of Americans to make sure they moderate the use of social networking and gaming but then again, there is always too much of a good thing. Computer advancement isn’t a bad idea and it has help more than harmed. A general principle should be set when on the computer that every hour you’re on it is an hour you have wasted to doing something progressive in your life. Examples like taking a hour walk, playing a sport, or even doing homework are all positive actions that you could have made while you were checking your Facebook.