“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein
It is a widespread belief that the media has forced teenagers to lose their social skills. But who’s responsible? Have texting, Facebook and the endless amount of other media platforms available today hypnotised our youth?
Whilst social media has undoubtedly had a huge impact on us young people, the conclusion that the media is to blame for antisocial behaviour is not justified.
In 2012-13, almost every household with children under 15 had access to the internet at home (96%). Internet activity was greatest amongst younger people with 15-17 year olds having the highest proportion of internet use (97%) and social networking was most preferred by 18-24 year olds (92%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014). These statistics are confirmation of how our younger generations are excessively dependent on and involved with the media.
But is this technology (that our seniors invented) the reason for us teens spending most of our time indoors and turning us into ‘zombies’? Or, is the lack of face-to-face socialising a result of strict parenting? Danah boyd (2014, p. 80) in her book It’s complicated – the social lives of networking teens, says that “teens aren’t addicted to social media … they’re addicted to each other.” She continues with, “they’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.” The onslaught of stories about child-abduction and sexual predators as well as increased competition to be successful has forced parents to schedule their child’s after-school life, leaving us teens with neither the time or freedom to hang out. The shift to social media is our way to reach out and connect without having to meet in person.
Long before the technology was available to do so, people were just as passionate about documenting their lives – take any piece of ancient writing for example, it was a method of self-expression and informing, much like social media is used today.
Social media is expanding teen’s connections to the world and the opportunities we are exposed to. So, the proposal that social media is in fact, antisocial media, is not justified. Yes, teens these days are spending a lot more time using technology, but this has not turned us into antisocial robots, it has instead allowed us to socialise with more people than ever thought possible.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, ABS, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2B4C241B1D0D7691CA257C89000E3F61?opendocument>.
boyd, d. 2014, it’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, viewed 17 March 2014,
Cahill, J. 2013, Constantly being in touch is so anti-social, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/comment/constantly-being-in-touch-is-so-antisocial-20130530-2neoa.html>.
McKay, T. 2012, Anti-social kids in a social networking world, She Knows, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/954925/anti-social-kids-in-a-social-networking-world>.
News Staff 2012, The Anti-Social Network?, Science 2.0, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.science20.com/news_articles/antisocial_network_facebook_making_young_people_feel_down_about_life-91318>.
Simon 2009, Anti-Social Media: What digital intimacy means for consumers and brands, image, WeFirst, viewed 17 March 2014,
Stanley, T. 2013, Is the Facebook generation anti-social?, The Telegraph, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/10084186/Is-the-Facebook-generation-anti-social.html>.
The Australian Church Record, 2013, Social Media Watch, image, The Australian Church Record, viewed 17 March 2014,<http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/category/social-media-watch/>.
Thompson, C. 2013, Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault, Wired, viewed 17 March 2014,
Turnbull, S. 2014, ‘Media Mythbusting: Television Makes You Fat Week 2′, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 11 March 2014.