11.10.2005Our interconnections are almost wholly inorganic and entirely technological now. We do not touch, but we still converse. Interestingly, this conversation does not take the form of words and symbols, but in terms of images and sounds and colors and movement and icons that have inclusive meaning. Personal meaning. That doesn't imply the meanings of our interactions aren't public- they obviously are. But we have let these cultural icons penetrate into our very core identity.
This isn't anything new, of course. What is new is that this identity is constituted not by our biological humanity but by our technological interconnections.
The Guardian: Growing up with the wired generation
But the effects of technological advancement are unavoidable. Three out of four children have access to the internet via a computer at home. One in three children who use the internet makes friends online. Children in the UK aged between 10 and 19 own approximately 7.5m mobile phones, on which they send many of the 89m text messages written daily. And one pound in every 10 of disposable income was spent by teenagers on mobile products and services this year.
It is an astonishing level of penetration. The mobile phone, especially, has become an integral part of a young adult's everyday life. Ringtones are a badge of identity as much as the clothes you wear; text and picture messaging is the way to spread the word. A phone in your pocket is not only reassuring but commands respect. Graham Brown, chief executive of DhaliwalBrown, which runs Wireless World Forum (W2F) and mobileYouth, says: "Mobile music is a tool for timeless psychological needs - the need to belong through peer group reinforcement and the need to be significant, through status." Knowledge is power
For the new MTV generation, the mobile is also one of many sources of information. And knowledge is power. What to wear, what to listen to and where to go: modern technology provides the answers.
"Word of mouth as a source of information has always been trusted, especially by younger generations," says the report. "The speed of the internet means that websites can provide information quicker, and its size means that a far greater pool of talent can potentially be accessed in a single sitting. Its information is trusted more because it is perceived to resemble word of mouth... This is why viral marketing campaigns work so well."