Thursday, October 11, 2012

Digital Generation Observations

I read an interesting article titled Privatization of Consciousness by Jerry Mander and it had some interesting comments about the digital generation of young people ("Digital Natives") who look at screens more than the interact with each other.  His main thrust was against the invasiveness of advertising, but he made me think.
  • Digital Natives are the first generation "to have essentially moved its consciousness inside media, to have increasingly replaced direct contact with other people, other communities, other sources of knowledge, and the natural world - which is anyway getting harder and harder to find - with simulated, re-created, or edited versions of events and experiences."
  • Digital Natives are bombarded with media - 40% of 3 month olds and 90% of 2 year olds regularly watch TV.  By the time an average child finishes elementary school, they have seen 8,000 murders on TV and have seen 200,000 acts of violence by age 18.
  • Digital Natives are probably more susceptible to advertising because of their preference to interact with a screen over others.  Once an image is embedded in your brain, it is difficult to get rid of it.  And, seeing the same image repeatedly is even more difficult to evict, irregardless of your intelligence level. 
  • One way to look at globalization is a homogenization process of products and people in order to sell more efficiently.  
  • One way to look at modernization is a movement away from nature and into constructed environments of towns, streets, and houses.  The combination of this and the media means that each generation goes successively deeper into mediated reality.
  • Information transmitted visually is devoid of "counterpoint imagery and argument" and "seeing is believing."  Our direct contact with the sources of reality are highly diminished and the result is we cannot have personal certainty that the information we get is entirely reliable.  All mediated information is process, edited, and altered in various ways.  It is wrapped in doubt, especially moving-image media and we tend to always believe the image, because images seem real."  
  • Is democracy in jeopardy if Digital Natives are overwhelmed with tremendous amounts of advertising? 

image from
Privatization of Consciousness in October 2012 issue of Monthly Review