Most of the people born after the 2000s might consider themselves as digital natives. For all of the digital natives, we grow up with existed technology and the internet; however, compared with the teenagers who might be born after 2010, they are actually more “native” than I am due to the development of the digital world. I remember when I was in grade 5, smart phones started to become popular, and having an iphone 3 was the most enviable thing for kids. For me, even though I grow up with electronic devices, I still guarantee the transition from the prevalence of clamshell mobile phones to smartphones.
Because these changes occur in my young age, having a smooth transition and being accustomed to use new technology are not difficult for me; therefore, I become a “resident” in the world where the internet is part of the composition. Unlike older people who might only use the internet if needed, such as paying bills, I view the internet as not only a tool, but part of my life, which connects to my social web and academic life. I created my first social media account when I was 11, and more accounts were created in order to make my life visible and valuable.
In the article, The Internet and Youth Culture, the author mentions “[t]he internet is often used to express unexplored aspects of the self and to create a virtual persona.” When I read this quote, the first thing popped out was cyberbullying, an invisible bullying online, but which can lead to visible outcome. People have the freedom to speech, but not all people would reveal 100% of themselves in real life. A lot of people believe that the people who are always involved in cyberbullying and give nasty comments have completely different personalities in reality. Connecting this hypothesis to the quote from the reading, I realize how the freedom of speech online plays as a double-edged sword. On one hand, I appreciate that the internet allows us to let us be real us; it encourages people to step out of their comfort zone and make new challenges. However, on the other hand, when cyberbullying occurs, the hidden aspects decide whether we want to be an injurer or bystander. Due to uncertainties, the negative side of the internet might cause teenagers to explore and foster their hidden aspects in a wrong way.