Always On

Growing up in a time where the internet and danger is available at the touch of your fingertips is an interesting life. In some ways, some would argue I was lucky, considering technology was around when I was very young, although the tablets and smartphones did not become available to me until I was around 10 years old. These days, I am constantly seeing articles branding parents as ‘unfit’ for allowing their children to have tablets from the age of three.

I love my phone. I know it sounds so ‘millennial’, but it’s true. I think it’s so fascinating that you can do anything from a computer on a small screen without much effort. But I’m not one to argue that it’s only young people who are addicted to their devices. My tadcu loves his computers and since I can remember, has loved playing with them, uploading images from his much-loved camera, or sending funny memes he’s seen online to the family via email; he bought an iPad within the past year or so and so far, without fail he has been the first to find you an answer on the internet using it. My parents, (who both work in IT, so obviously!) enjoy using their tablets and phones and my Mam in particular has a deep love for her Kindle which I don’t think we’ll ever be able to compete with! My brother, just like me, loves his tech, because it’s just so easy for him to read his seventeenth book of the week (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but he reads a lot) on his Kindle or phone via app.

It doesn’t make me any less capable of speaking to people in real life. But, I suppose you must be careful because a screen gives you a false sense of confidence which is unexplainable to anyone who’s never used a computer. It’s the ability to often submit an online comment which is controversial or wrong, but because it’s anonymous, it’s this sense that no one will ever know. I’m aware of this – more than some of my peers possibly. Because I write these articles – either for my own online blog, or for the What’s On, but they’re always sent via email or put up online. But I’m always careful. And I always make sure that whatever I say online is my own opinion – and one I’d have no problem reiterating in real life.

That’s the biggest issue I have. The fact that what you see online is almost never what the full picture is. That ‘Instagram models’ make you feel inadequate because of the visage they try to convey online which never truly matches up to their own personalities or looks. I’ve never hidden the fact I’ve had body positivity issues, but surely filtering your photos into oblivion makes them all the more fake and gives the wrong sense of your true body? I’m lucky that I was slightly older joining social networking sites like Instagram (mainly because when I was very young, none of it was around – I mean, Facebook was, because Facebook’s always been, just… there) because I can only imagine what young girls think about themselves now. I’m still rather impressionable, but at almost eighteen, I have the knowledge that these images are created to give a certain image, but if I was still nine and looking at a girl without any bones on her body, I might think of it as being somewhat normal. And maybe I’d try to copy those kinds of images.

I’m not saying these women – or men – should stop posting pictures of themselves. We all try to look good, but my argument is that they shouldn’t be editing their photos so heavily, because if you still caption it ‘mirror selfie!’ but look alien because your waist is the size of a pinkie finger, it becomes more cartoon-like, and young girls and boys start believing that’s what they ought to look like. But I also don’t think that every one of every age should be on social media. And at age three, I think it’s odd for you to be able to use an iPhone, but not be able to speak. I know it’s hard to say that, because the world is filled to the brim with new technology, but maybe there’s a point when technology should be a treat for very young children, not a normality.

By Tirion Davies