The kids really are all right
May 28, 2010
The digital natives are restless, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, and they’re growing up. Members of the digital-born generation, who have no memory of society before Internet use became commonplace, aren’t tiring of social media, but they are learning to reduce the personal information that they share publicly via the Web.
The Pew study found, for instance, that social networkers ages 18 to 29 were the most likely to change the privacy settings on their profiles to limit what they share with others online. The percentage who did so was 71 percent, compared with just 55 percent of the 50- to 64-year-old bracket. Meanwhile, about two-thirds of all social networkers who were surveyed said they’ve tightened security settings.
I think this trend can be attributed partially to young adults graduating college and entering the work force, where they need to appear responsible and professional rather than impulsive and carefree. This is a natural rite of passage that previous generations have experienced, but one that is much more apparent because of social media. Digital natives are also as knowledgeable as anyone about social media, so they’ve developed a thorough understanding of how to limit the information they share beyond their core groups of friends.
If you ask me, I think this is a sign that society in general is becoming more comfortable with social media. We’re beginning to think of social media less as a phenomenon and more as an expected part of modern life. In that sense, we’re all growing up and learning to live in a world where social networks are prominent and practical rather than spectacular and new.