Tuesday, 2 October 2007

How many roads...

Right now I am moving at dial-up speeds, attempting to get together (to get her together) a bunch of resources for my co-leck-shun, and it's doing my head in, as it were, so let me stop and ponder something else.

Frank's got me thinking, which is always nice. So here I am asking myself, what is childhood in the 21st century?

Heavy words, I know. But with boys being tried as men, and the many opportunities for girls these days, the question is heavy on my mind.

One way of looking at the way we treat children in contemporary Western society could be looking at the trends of what children want as consumers. I mean, that's how we define adults -- it can't be that different, can it? No certainly not.

Game consoles, iPods and media players, cell phones, CDs and DVDs, computers and laptops, video games, televisions and DVD players, cameras... We are children of the easily accessible technology boom, where inexpensive electronics run plentiful - we might not know why it may have happened, but we know we want to be involved.

Like Victorians dressing their children as little Lady's and Gentlemen, are the trends in adult consumption of objects passed onto their children without care for their age? Perhaps consumerism, or more graciously, a love for technology, is an ageless trait. We grow up surrounded by media objects saturated in our environments - monkey see, monkey want.

There are times where I feel for many adolescents, childhood vanishes very quickly - the lines blur drastically, and as a person becomes aware of their environment and the way they effect their environment, they cease to be a child. Maybe? Maybe.

Some people, who will remain nameless to curb their already bountiful traffic, have said that today's young people harbour incredible vanity and narcissism, to such an extent that it may be actually harmful towards their development. Is this just the mirroring of their elders, or the experimentation with super-accessible media outelts? The late 20th century saw an overabundance of self indulgent narcissistic behaviour - the birth of the Star - it would only seem logical that Its offspring would be that of the Nathan Barley's and the Scene Queens.

UK society is one which is growing ever more surveillance orientated -- we're watched on cameras on tube stations and buses, in Tesco's parking lots and shopping mall floors, the foyers of night clubs and the entrances of their bathrooms, quads of colleges and 6th form hallways. Video cameras are conveniently integrated within cell phones, digital cameras and laptops. YouTube, MySpace, Buzznet, Facebook, Flickr and a myriad of other sites offer virtual communication and media sharing, letting users literally edit, format and present their lives like publishers presented features in magazines when they were still important.

With so much of ones life being recording - both passively (CCTV) and purposefully (YouTube), there is no escaping the Awareness of being. Somewhere along the way, though, it gets hyper-saturated -- being isn't enough, and it's thought it's better to Be Something, Be Known, Be Seen (Scene?).

Cultural snow machines, when natural winter isn't producing enough to cover the slopes.



1 comment:

fp said...

I wrote a great post comparing Robert Scoble to Nathan Barley, but it seemed somehow mean, so I stuck it away in the draft pile. You know, I would rather read SugarApe and watch trashbat.co.ck than fidget and time-waste in front of what silly valley is flogging and vlogging. Thanks for the view of Barley and the Scene Queens. Fresh.