The Impact Of Digital Technology On Youth Cultural Engagement

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Within the universal landscape of childhood there exists an ideal metaphor for understanding the impact of digital technologies on youth cultural engagement; the playground. Developmental Psychology studies have found that children use the playground to perform approximations of adult behaviour; using this landscape as their training ground for navigating the adult world (Bers, 2012). However, these days the proverbial playground can be found within a digital world. Examples of these new information-communication technologies include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr but can span to include many other forms of technological communication. Using new-information technologies young people can develop and master skills, communicate with peers, and construct their sense of self much as they used to within its virtual predecessor. There is an argument as to whether this is indicative of a new modernity or a continuation of the immediate past Giddens (1990). It would be impossible not to acknowledge the very significant impact that new information-communication technologies have had on the way young people engage with youth culture, however it is also important to acknowledge that these changes occur within a traditional framework. This argument can be seen through the new possibilities for flexibility and fluidity of identity construction, new engagement with risk cultures, the transcendence of geographical boundaries, and the creation of new inter-cultural dialogues. Digital technologies provide a new space in which young people can create their identities. This digital landscape is a new space, distinct from the physical world in which the expression of identity is a matter of choice. With the anonymity provided by online communication youn... ... middle of paper ... ...ed to ‘new pornographies’ (Hardy 2009) which have been made easily accusable for youth through the blurring of lines between private and public spheres. Theoretically, engaging in a culture of sexuality has been a marker of transitioning into adulthood, however new information-communication technologies have contributed to a non-linear trajectory of transition (Goodwin, & O 'Connor, 2005). Woodman and Wyn (2007) argue that such behaviour alters how adulthood is realised, and therefor that through the lens of social generations, transitions are no longer made on an age basis, but on grounds of meaning (Woodman & Wyn, 2007; Silva, 2012). Therefore, although digital technology has facilitated and created new risk cultures for youth to interact with, this still follows a typical, although somewhat accelerated, pattern and is still subject to traditional social sanctions.
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