Thursday, April 10, 2008

Communication and Contradiction

When reading the Adult vs. Youth post, I was reminded of a part in Boyd's "None of This is Real" Chapter, where the contradictions of society were discussed. Scsorto talked about how the relationship between youth and parent needs open communication to achieve understanding, and I think this desire has led to some of society's contradictions. Often times parents make a point to reach out to their children and do, in fact, communicate successfully, but then they are left with information that they may not approve of. Along with the contradictions of sex and freedom mentioned by Boyd, there are many contradictions surrounding the Internet.
When children are growing up, most parents strongly and persistently encourage them to "be yourself", ignore those who make fun of them, and "be unique". In the past, children exerted their uniqueness with things such as clothes, piercings, talents, and hobbies. Now, however, the technological generation of youth has done so through sites like MySpace and Facebook, documenting their "uniqueness" and making it accessible to a larger network. It would have been assumed that parents would praise children for their unique expression, but once again the issue was met by contradicting responses. Is there a way to merge the gap between the two communicated views that are formed around so many different issues? It seems like parents give their children the go-ahead, but want the power to draw the line at a certain point. If these contradictions can never be removed, will communication ever be effective for reaching an understanding between adults and youth?

1 comment:

Caroline said...

You make some interesting points. However, though Facebook and MySpace may indeed provide an outlet for young people to prove their "uniqueness," I also think that people join such online communities to be part of a community, to do the thing that everyone else is. In Boyd's other article, "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life," she explains how people join the communities by being invited by friends, and then proceed to create their own profiles based on what they perceive to be socially acceptable, and therefore like others that they view. From a personal experience, I joined FaceBook during my freshman year only because my roommate pressured me into it, saying, "Everyone has a profile!" So I see what you're saying about being able to express oneself on one's profile, but I believe online social norms play a large part in homogenizing the system.