We've all heard it before, whether the comment was from our grandmother or our nosy old neighbor called Fred. We've heard the adage "all teenagers ever do is stare at those screens" and "kids these days don't know how to have real conversations." Is that true?
Yes, I do have an iPhone. Yes, I do know how to use a laptop. Yes, I have been known to pull out my phone and pretend to be texting when I see someone I'd really rather avoid. But why is this whole "electronic era of the robots" being blamed on the millennials? The ones who can't remember "the good ol' days"? The ones who weren't around for Baywatch with Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff (although the thought makes me feel a little queasy!)? The ones who weren't fortunate enough to be around when Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe were at their peak?
As a generation, I will be the first to admit that perhaps we should spend a little less time scrolling Tumblr. However, social media sites and apps are almost like Internet diaries. I can scroll down my Instagram feed and see all those memories of days out with friends and sunrises I've been lucky enough to see. I can read through my Twitter profile and see 140-character sentences with tiny little summaries of my day or of thoughts I've had. It shouldn't feel like a job, even if it is for some people. Social media is an incredible community where everyone, from every corner of the globe, can find a place where they belong. A place where news is spread like wildfire and the stories reach far across the continents, where support is everywhere to be found, and where you can discover and learn from the comfort of your own home. Of course, as with everything, there's good and bad. You do have to be careful on the Internet. But most of the time, as long as you practice common sense, then you're good, boo.
Is it antisocial? Well, yes and no.
I may not be social with the people directly around me, but I am with people across the world. I'm making friends (in a very safe way, of course) and I'm sharing ideas and thoughts with like-minded people. If I'm waiting for my bus, why can't I grab my phone and have a browse on ASOS? If I'm walking home, why can't I text my best friend and ask her about her day? If I'm driving in the car with my mum, why can't I learn Spanish on an app? Give me a valid reason why not. You can't. In those situations when we are waiting or not doing anything productive, why is it such a sin to have a piece of entertainment?
I still have conversations around the dinner table with my family and there's not a phone in sight. I hold strangers' babies when they ask me to because they're struggling to juggle three of them. I let old ladies go in front of me in line. I ask about my best friend's day. I sing along with my mum to Bon Jovi in the car. Unfortunately, I haven't reached some new level of evolution. I still have real conversations with real people in real-life situations, and I enjoy them. I don't have my phone constantly attached to my hand and even if I did, it's handy. It's a calculator, a watch, a laptop, a camera, a map. The list is endless.
If we're being honest, we aren't the generation who created these new gadgets. It wasn't a 16-year-old boy who designed a self-parking car. It wasn't a 17-year-old girl who made the new Apple iWatch. It was our parents' generation who crafted, created, and configured millions of new technological advances. If there are new products on the market, then why are we being attacked for using them?
The kids are using 'em. The parents are making 'em. The grandparents are hating 'em.
Want to be an MTV Founders contributor? Send your full name, age, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.