In 1998, the year I was born, 57% of non-internet users suggested that they were not worried about what they were missing out on by not being online.
Today, after the influx of various social media platforms which have revolutionised the way in which people come to understand and interpret their world, perhaps Generation Z agrees.
Studies have suggested that young people have felt the depths of the internet and have a desire to log off from what has become their additional life.
The University of San Diego University found that teens that spent more time in front of screen devices playing computer games, using social media, texting and video chatting were less happy than teens engaged in non-screen activities.
One of the researchers, American Psychologist Dr Jean Twenge, said:
“Aim to spend no longer than two hours a day on the internet and try to increase the amount of time you spend seeing friends face to face and exercising-two activities reliably linked to greater happiness.”
Advice such as this causes me to feel as though my generation live in a sort of dual consciousness.
Much like smoking, drinking, or any other activity that in children in the last century have been taught should only be done in moderation, we are aware of how accustomed we are to digital media, but having grown up in it, we know no other experience.
From being a toddler, until the age of 16 I loved to read for pleasure.
With the stress and expectation that arose from public examinations and the future, came the propensity for procrastination, and the internet and all of its amenities came at just the right time.
As a result, I now read for personal research and school projects, but rarely for pure enjoyment.
Such developments appear to concern Psychologists such as Dr Twenge:
“Being able to read long form text is crucial for understanding complex issues and developing critical thinking skills.”
Over the last few years I have considered the variety of press about social media and its negative effect on young people as a mild moral panic.
These views are ones presented and written by members of other generations, who don’t necessarily understand the unique feeling of growing up in the age of the internet and enjoying its benefits, yet simultaneously wishing it had never been created because of its shortcomings.
Recently, the Guardian published an article about teenagers who are turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, choosing instead to live mainly ‘off screen’ lives.
One of the teenagers mentioned, Isabelle, said that as she realised she was getting involved in a “mindless vortex of never ending scrolling”, she knew she had to distance herself from the culture of social media.
This exemplifies the fact that although Generation Z have a complex relationship with the internet, they also have the key to unlocking the means by which they can overcome the problems that it causes for them, thus assisting generations to come.