This is a topic which has really gotten me thinking in the past few days. As I sit here typing on my laptop, listening to Arctic Monkeys (accessed on Spotify) with the hum of the radio distantly humming through the house and flicking through my Facebook Newsfeed on my smartphone, I realise how much technology has affected the lives of millions on this planet, in particular in the past decade or so called ‘The Digital Age’.
I can still recall when we got our first ‘House Computer’ in my house for Christmas when I was around eight years old, nearly a decade ago.
At the time Wi-Fi didn’t exist so we had to use the dial-up connection, which looking back on now was quite horrific and worked at a pain-staking slow rate. However when you’re eight years old playing games on the computer (Pinball had my heart) attempting to become the latest Picasso on Microsoft Paint and worrying about what a ‘search engine’ is, minor things like a slow Internet connection don’t really matter. Did I mention I once thought Google was a virus on our computer?
When we first switched on the computer and it made the distinct Windows XP sound, I ran out of the room fearing for my life, thinking it was a virus. Literally everything I’d ever read and heard about the Internet was that, ‘’you don’t click on the ads, they’re a virus,’’ ‘’don’t go on that website, it’s a virus, ‘’ and so forth. I believed that practically everything was a virus! I think as the Internet was relatively new (my school had recently gotten a computer room with computers that had Microsoft XP, huge celebrations!) there was a lot of scaremongering about ‘The World Wide Web’ and how every link you click COULD be a virus and destroy your computer.
However my attitude to the Internet soon changed and I began to watch videos on YouTube to pass the time, as I wasn’t allowed on Bebo or Myspace which I thought was the greatest tragedy known to man. I remember a year or so later setting up my own YouTube channel (which no longer exists thankfully) so I could actually ‘favourite’ and comment on videos! I was a huge Rihanna fan back then aged 10, ‘Umbrella’ had been released that summer so I ran to buy her album in CD form not on iTunes, a relatively new phenomenon at that stage. (But that could have been a virus too!)
Another leap into technology and the digital world was when I was given my first mobile phone for my tenth birthday. When I look back, I think it’s an incredibly young age to have a phone, however being the youngest child I can imagine I used a huge amount of ‘pester power’ to get the phone and other electrical items during the years such as the PlayStation 2 (in pink of course) a Nintendo Wii and other electrical items throughout my childhood.
I can still recall when, at thirteen and a half, I set up a Facebook account. The ‘thirteen-and-a-half’ was a big deal for me, as I was a whopping six months over the age you had to be when joining the website, unlike many of my peers. As I’m writing this, I’m scrolling through my Timeline from 2010/11/12 and can honestly admit it’s possibly the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen. Despite thinking I was ‘cool’ for being on Facebook, most of the status’ I posted were littered with poor grammar, ‘’txt talk,’’ and lots more embarrassing and unspeakable things. ‘’Like for a rate out of ten’’ is something that features highly, along with ‘’Like for a H’O’’ An Honest Opinion, which is making me shudder just from thinking of it.
In a whirlwind of the past four/five years, I’ve joined various websites in this ‘Digital Era’ starting with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube (again!) and my two latest favourites, Tumblr and BlogSpot. My biggest leap into the Digital world so far has definitely been by setting up my blog ‘The Random Life of Aveen’ in March 2013 following a school trip to London.
August 2014 and my blog has nearly 30,000 page views along with nominations in ‘The Blog Awards Ireland’. For a person who once thought that the search engine Google was a virus and could rob my parent’s credit cards and details (even without buying anything on the Internet, but viruses were clever and could do anything you know) I think that this is definitely a big achievement in the time of all things digital.
I don’t really think I personally was ‘Born Digital’ I genuinely think that I’m a 90’s kid as I was born in 1996. It was only in my ‘later’ years that technology began to affect me and my everyday life, unlike people who are just two years or so younger than me. I slowly but surely began to embrace the Digital Age as any young, enthusiastic child would and now I’m an absolute Internet and technology addict.
However it’s when I see my cousins who are all younger than eight years old, I genuinely believe that they are ‘Born Digital.’ When your four year old cousin can use an iPad to take selfies, play games and browse the Internet but can’t read or write as they haven’t started primary school, I believe that that is being Born Digital. At age four I had a baby Annabell, which only said one sound and occasionally made slurping noises when you fed it.
I may have been born a few years too early to be ‘Born Digital’ however I still believe I’ve experienced a huge technological advance in my lifetime and a definite relaxation on the Internet, viruses aren’t a life or death situation as advertised when I was young, they’re just extremely irritating! I’ve a cousin aged eight who uploads to YouTube about Minecraft, at that age I was playing Pinball on the house computer, not on a fancy iPad or using an iPhone. (The iPhone was released three years later when I was eleven or so) But as I sit here tapping away, sending Snapchat’s, I realise how different my life as an eight year old nearly ten years ago in 2004 is to the typical eight year old, ‘Born Digital’ in 2014.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post,
Stay Strong, Happy & Fearless!