Our entire world revolves around the Internet. It’s hard to imagine being able to go through every day life without it, so much so that we forget there was a time before the Internet even existed.
Kids today are born into the Internet age. It seems as though most know how to use an iPad before they can even properly speak. But do they really understand what the Internet is or where it comes from? The Fine Brothers create YouTube videos of demographics reacting to various topics. In a video titled, ‘TEENS REACT TO 90s INTERNET’, “teens [aged 14-19] watch the 90’s era instructional video, Kids’ Guide to The Internet and discuss how the Internet has evolved over time.” (TheFineBros, 2014).
The participants can’t help but laugh at the video, overwhelmed by how old and corny it is. They roll their eyes when the definition of “e-mail” and “web” are given. When asked about the video, one teen states, “It’s so outdated, I have no need for it, I already know what to do” and another agrees it’s unnecessary, describing the Internet as “self-explanatory”. The teens however found they do not really understand the workings of the Internet. Most agreed that it wasn’t important how the Internet actually works, it only matter that you know to use it.
According to Sterling (1993, p. 5), “The Internet’s pace of growth in the early 1990s [was] spreading faster than cellular phones and faster than fax machines.” At the time, the increasing growth of Internet usage was allowing more people to connect than ever before. Sterling’s idea that the Internet was a form of freedom resonates today. Even now, the fact that there are no “bosses” of the Internet gives people a sense of liberty that is hard to find anywhere else. Therefore does our ability to use the Internet however we want override any need to understand what the Internet really is?
Sterling (1993, p. 5) states, “The real Internet of the future may bear very little resemblance to today’s plans”. As we can already see, it has surpassed expectations from its origin, making me wonder what the internet will be capable of doing in years to come and what future generations will have to say about cyberspace today.
Sterling B 1993, ‘A Short History of the Internet’, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, viewed August 5, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245647/mod_resource/content/1/Sterling%2C%20B.%20-%20A%20Short%20History%20of%20the%20Internet.pdf>.
The Fine Brothers 2014, TEENS REACT TO 90s INTERNET, online video, June 1, YouTube, viewed 8 August 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0mg9DxvfZE>