The Digital Age (Just cos you got the power, doesn’t mean you got the right).

As someone who admits to not knowing a great deal about technology, it is something I have quite a strong opinion on, as a whole (surprise surprise…)

I have recently been due a phone upgrade, and as it ties in nicely with the release of the iphone 5 I’ve decided to go with Apple for the first time. Now, I don’t particularly like itunes, and the mac laptops I use for my youth work often utterly perplex me and leave me cross eyed muttering ‘No left click? NO LEFT CLICK?!’ however for various reasons the iphone appealed to me so I decided to go for it.

I’ve had mixed responses, some people think it’s OMG EXCITING BEST THING EVER JIZZ JIZZ and some people casually, snottily have shrugged their shoulders or shaken their heads sadly and wondered why I didn’t go for something more advanced (which ended up with me in irritated, tight-shouldered state ready to spit venom at the next person who commented on my choice. Luckily, nobody has since then.

However it’s got me thinking about technology in general, not just mobile technology, but social media in general, and in the wider scale – spaceships and aeroplanes and television and radio etc. And what social and political responsibilities come along with technological advancements.

You see, I think technology is cool, and advancements can only be a good thing. One argument may be ‘Just because you  an have an all-singing all-dancing phone doesn’t mean you should’. But I reckon that if it’s possible to do it, then why the hell not? Technology to me is a bit like magic. I can’t get my head around how you can point a bit of metal (and glass, plastic, etc) on a football game, and that bit of metal can capture the visuals, and then it can get sent through the air via other bits of metal, and then I can turn on my piece of metal in my living room and see what the football fans can see. I think that is AMAZING and I have muchos respect for those that understand how these things work.

However, with smart phones and the internet and television and all of those other things comes a responsibility. Kind of similar to religion, you know? In the right hands it’s the best thing ever, in the wrong hands it’s dangerous, tyrannical, nation controlling and damaging.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Kind of like Motorhead ‘Just Cos You Got The Power (Doesn’t Mean You Got The Right).

I can’t believe I just quoted Motorhead to argue my point. I don’t even like Motorhead.

But you know what I mean, right? I think it’s the responsibility to anyone who uses modern technology to make sure it is used responsibly (and while this all sounds very sombre I don’t mean responsibility in the same vein as ‘seriously’ – everyone loves a bit of Angry Birds from time to time). I think we need to educate our young people on the correct way to use social media. Technology can be damaging to developing social skills. Many young people would rather sit in front of their Magic Screens talking via the internet instead of hanging out together. I think that this is wrong, and something we need to stay away from.

To summarise; just because you are a 13 year old young person that can approve friend requests from strangers on the internet, doesn’t mean you should. Just because the owners of facebook can compile personal data from people’s profiles, doesn’t mean they should. Just because you can use CCTV to keep tabs on the general public, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can tweet your abuse to celebrities on twitter, doesn’t mean you should. You catch my drift?

With technological developments comes a moral, ethical question of what is right and wrong, and while mistakes have, and are being made, I have faith that one day we’ll figure it all out and can advance into our robot-infested, flying-car future with a solid knowledge of what is the right thing to do 🙂