565.2 Technology's paradox: Theorizing digital media and young lives

Friday, August 3, 2012: 12:45 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Kate TILLECZEK , Education and Sociology, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Ron SRIGLEY , Arts, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
This paper examines the social impacts of digital media technology on youth; its paradoxes, points of resistance and reproductive tendencies. The place of digital media in the complexity of youth transitions over time is under theorized and studied. The use of digital media is well documented such that young Canadians are now among the most wired in the world (Media Awareness Network, 2006) and media claims suggest a revolutionary character of digital media in democratic participation and educational outcomes of youth; as a crucial force in the rhetoric of 21st century learning, the Arab Spring protests of the Middle East and the London Riots. Young people are posed as “The Millennials”, “The NetGeneration” and/or Digital Natives” by virtue of immersion in ubiquitous digital media that mimic cyborgian experience (Tilleczek & Srigely, 2011). 

But, what does this matter to young people’s everyday lives? Many young people remain at intersections of marginalization by social class, region, ethnicity and culture and span the digital divide. And, there are conscientious objectors and full-on digesters of digital media. This paper provides possibilities for examining the impacts of digital media on young lives across the response/use spectrum and how it comes about via the paradoxical impacts of digital media on young lives over time. For whom and how do digital media augment and/or make problematic transitions? How is digital media involved in agency, resistance and constraint? Is an emerging digital capital arising? If so, how are young people using it to negotiate transitions over time? This paper provides theoretical directions arising from conversations across sociology, philosophy and media studies. It outlines emerging literatures and points to the dismissive and adult/state-centric responses to the social and political phenomena that comprise digital cultures and digital media technology impacts on youth.