What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up In Cyberspace Essay
What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up In Cyberspace
There is an argument ongoing about how the children of today are seemingly missing out on real life experiences because of the emergence of a virtual social circle via cyberspace. In his essay “What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up In Cyberspace”, author Brent Staples argues that teenagers who spend their time in cyberspace become socially and emotionally stunted in development and growth. Most people though, myself included, do not believe in such statements because we believe that it is simply a case of older people not understanding how the new era of this world functions.
It is not true that young people who are active online are listless and lonely. Instead, those who are active online are actually productive and highly intelligent people who can converse very confidently with one another online. You see, the beauty of the internet is that it is none judgmental. Due to the anonymity factor, cyberspace has made gender and race a non existent issue. Nobody is too young to be heard, too uninformed to have a view, and no issue is for men or women only. Cyberspace has leveled the playing field for everyone involved. Mr.
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Staples also wrongly argues in his essay that: But teenagers who spend much of their lives hunched over computer screens miss the socializing, the real-world experience that would allow them to leave adolescence behind and grow into adulthood. These vital experiences, like much else, are simply not available in a virtual form. Nothing could be further from the truth. In actual practice, such virtual interactive participation usually does not end in cyberspace. These young people are constantly finding ways and means to get together and socialize in person.
In fact, recent studies by the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, John, Walsh, and the Cox group indicates that at least 14% of people who meet online get together in person and 30% would probably meet someone they met online in person. Those statistics safely disprove the 2 arguments of Mr. Staples. If anything, the existence of a social circle via cyberspace has helped the young people of today mature a tremendously lot faster than their adult counterparts.
Cyberspace has also helped young people of today become more highly educated and informed even without the help of classroom instruction. In fact, Mr. Staples contradicted his views on the experiences of adolescent growing up in cyberspace when he told the story of Marcus Arnold. Marcus Arnold is not the real name of this 15 year old boy who up until a few years ago, successfully portrayed himself as a successful 25 year old lawyer on the web before he was discovered to be a simple teenager with a very analytical and receptive brain.
His interest in the law and the fact that most laws and explanations, including case studies and analysis may be openly read on the web helped his analytical mind to mature faster. Due to the direct exposure to professional lawyers and other people with whom he could have intelligent discussions with, he successfully developed a mindset common only to those of the 25 years old and above bracket. That clearly indicates a success in terms of validating the benefits of allowing a child to grow up in cyberspace and totally invalidates the arguments of Mr. Staples stated within the same essay.
In the future, cyberspace will be so highly evolved that one will literally no longer have to leave the house for anything. After all, you can order a pizza online these days and pay for it by credit card the same way. People will continue to be more connected and socially connected than ever before. Reality will be virtual and yet as real as can be with the emergence of better internet based motion video cameras and the emergence of virtual parties where people will begin to party and interact from the safety of their own homes thus lessening the accidents involved with late night partying.
Education in schools and formal classrooms will become a thing of the past as distance education via cyberspace becomes the norm due to the proven effectiveness of online learning as opposed to classroom lectures. In conclusion, I would just to state that anything used and abused will always offer a negative outcome. Growing up in cyberspace is not without its hazards, but, it is not developmentally stunting at all either. When adolescents know how to balance growing up in cyberspace with growing up in the real world, one shall never find a more mature and responsible individual than that adolescent raised in the 21st century.
Work Cited “Adolescents in Cyberspace”. John Suler’s The Psychology of Cyberspace. February 2005. 22 January 2008. <http://users. rider. edu/~suler/psycyber/adoles. html>. “New Study Reveals 14 % of Teens Have Had Face-to-Face Meetings With People They’ve Met Online”. netsmarts. org. 11 May 2006. 22 January 2008. <http://www. netsmartz. org/pdf/cox_teensurvey_may2006. pdf>. Stubbs, Marcia, Sylvan Barnter, & William E. Cain. The Little Brown Reader. New York: Pearson.