If you’re in your thirties or older, do you ever wonder how different your life would have been if you had all that is available at your finger tips today? The internet, email, google, cellphones, apps…there’d be nothing that I couldn’t have done!
Of course, I take into account that I’d still have the same immigrant parents that I had. And wonder how they would have coped? Let’s say they would have still immigrated to the US but rather than in the early 70s, it would have been the mid to late 90s?!? In the end, they still would have come from a country behind in technology. Meaning, they wouldn’t have been to fast to grasp the cultural changes around them.
That isn’t going to happen. And I’m incredibly thankful to be a child of the 80s. To have known the joy of watching actual videos on Mtv and to be able to remember a life where people couldn’t find you everywhere at every moment of everyday of your life.
Lil Burs will never know this luxury. And, to be honest, she may not ever see it as one. Instead, she may revel in all that the modern age has given her. This is something that frightens me a bit.
Luckily, she isn’t a girly girl. She isn’t into boys and being super skinny and growing up quickly. Yes, she wants to do some of the cool things that we, as adults, can do but her dad is great at keep her as unconnected as possible. She isn’t on Facebook and can only get the internet on her touch-screen cellphone when at home. But the ability to keep her forcibly safe, is slowly coming to an end. The deal has been that when she turns thirteen, she’ll be given more trust and lee-way. The idea, of course, is that we’ll have taught her to be aware of all the dangers that exist online by then. She’ll be one of the smart girls! Always weary of what may be lurking around the corner or one status update away online.
Thing is, I’m finding it hard to stay up on all the ongoings of the internets and the dangers they potentially present. Largely because I’m not on most of it. My online life consists of Facebook (which I’m closing down soon…more on that later), Instragram (cool pictures), Yelp (restaurant reviews), Linked In (career connections), Meetup (more career connections) and a couple of games. I’ve always been big on keeping my online life private, which is why the minute I got married I changed my name. Now I’m sure that my private life and professional one can exist in two separate plains. (Married life – Burs. Career – Pierre. And neither of these are written correctly for the blog.)
What I’ve found through numerous Jezebel, NYTs and BBC news articles is that the younger generation can give a rats ass about their online personas. Instead everyone can read nearly everything about them. Facebook profiles are written out in full. And privacy settings are for the old and superstitious (yes, that is exactly what I am). So I read up on apps like Foursquare which to me always seemed ridiculous but to other young women, incredible! In my world, if I want you to know where I am then I’d tell you. But rather, you want people to know that you’re at McDonald’s for the third time this week…just because?!?
And really, if I was young now, I too, would be using all of these apps to showcase my popularity. But when you read that the majority of these apps are using your personal information to feed other apps that you haven’t signed onto – concern needs to be had.
For instance, a sight called Girls Around Me (which gives payers of the app) a count of the number of ladies near you on a map; plus a connection to their Facebook page. Or Girl Finder, which pulls data from Foursquare to let people know what bars, restaurants or clubs are chock-a-block full of the laayydees!!!
See because you’ve agreed to one site, now loads of others get to use your information as they see fit. I won’t even go into the fact that those two apps (trust me there are several others) are geared to a certain clientele. And as much as I’d like to think that everyone has the best of intentions, I’m afraid that having grown up in the age of the harmless older man who needs help looking for his puppy in the dark and wooded forest, has taught me to know better. Just a month ago, I read a story about a girl attacked at home. How? Because her attacker knew she had checked-in to a certain place thanks to Foursquare, he simply waited for her outside and followed her as she drunkenly walked home.
Of course with everything, there’s good and there’s bad. Had I had the pleasure of being nearly thirteen now, I’d have found the better dance school, I oh so wanted way back when my dream was to be a video dancer ( sad to say like J. Lo). I may also have been able to learn how to sew, while I was younger, via videos on youtube. Oh, and get a love of piano (though I really doubt that). The options would have been endless!! But I have to also look at the crazy teenage things I did – and let me be honest, I spent a lot of my time writing love letters in high school to a massive crush I had. I cannot even wrap my head around the damage I could have done if I had the internet and a cellphone that took pictures at my disposable.
It’s very, very good that I wasn’t born in this era.