The Children of the Internet live among us almost undetected, their numbers growing every day. As they tap the vast resources of the Internet to feed their hungry minds, they find each other and slowly become conscious of themselves as a culture in the making. Embedded in a society that is almost too busy to notice them, they undergo a transformation from talented individuals to a potent political and cultural force.
Unlike religions that have a mission to overthrow and subjugate others, the Children of the Internet are transforming society from within. These are our children and grandchildren and they bring knowledge into the household that isn’t pre-screened by Mom and Dad.
In the past it was understood that children received most of their knowledge, attitudes and opinions from their parents until they approached their teens. Once they reached 12 years of age it was quite observable that in most cases, children regarded parents as highly suspect sources of information. Most twelve-year-olds went to outside sources for real data about the things that matter.
This was a direct result of the efforts that many parents make to protect their children from the unpleasant truths of life. As children observed that their parent’s explanations about life did not make sense, they went outside to sources that may not have been accurate, but which were willing to communicate.
Today, children can access information about almost anything and are making decisions for themselves about issues that are completely off their parent’s radar. They become passionate about wrongly-made decisions and are beginning to communicate about them in ways that are being noticed. One ten-year old friend of mine set up a website and wrote well-researched articles about the unfair dismissal of a favorite teacher.
I had never heard of Invader Zim until this weekend, but since then I have been subjected to long, passionate harangues about the unfairness of dropping a show that provided witty entertainment and thought-provoking dark humor.
What makes this remarkable is that this ten-year-old is ranting about a show that was dropped several years ago! I am not sure he ever saw the original show as he would have been only seven years old at the time.
His last comment to me was that he was writing a letter to the person responsible for dropping the show.
To get the true perspective on this, you have to realize that his parents have had no part in this. They respect his passion, but sit bemused as he lectures them at the dinner table about the unfairness of it all.
Multiply this upset consumer by ten million and you begin to see some long-range effects from the Children of the Internet.
In future posts, I want to take up some observations on how the Children of the Internet are teaching themselves new skills.
Have you observed some Children of the Internet?
Do you think they will create changes in society?