From a recent Game Informer Article:
Having a young child paints a clear picture for me about the way different generations use resources like YouTube. While I visit mainly for research, help with tricky sections of games, or the occasional comedy video, my son uses it as a primary source of entertainment.
He started by learning about Beyblade toys. Then he stumbled onto Minecraft mod videos. From there, it was parkour and Nerf guns. He’s always finding new things, and most recently was watching educational science videos.
When I was a kid we dreamed of on-demand scripted programming and movies you call up at the touch of a button. For our children, they have that, and a wealth of authentic and diverse content on any number of subjects. It isn’t all high quality, but there’s gold there if you’re looking.
The article itself is a list of the most popular gaming-themed YouTube videos this year, along with another list of the top 10 most viewed videos about specific games (based on views and minutes watched) on the service. It’s no surprise that many of these titles are recent releases or in-development games that are popular across many platforms. The quote is from the tail end of the article, where the author gives his own personal spin on what this means for today’s youth.
I don’t personally remember wishing for anything like YouTube to exist, but my youth lacked Internet access. That came when I was a teen, and YouTube not until I was in my mid-20’s. So yeah, my ten year old brain couldn’t even fathom what we’re talking about today. Still, I do get where the author is coming from despite the fact that I lack children to make things of this nature more apparent. I still realize that the technology of today is light years ahead of where it was when my ten year old self was watching TV on a set that still only received channels 2-13. Ditto that for the games of this generation as opposed to the 8-bit wonders of my childhood. With that realization comes jealousy of the newer generation in that they have smart phones that are more capable than anything yet conceived when I was their age. But I wouldn’t trade my knowledge of the way things work in the real world, regardless of if it’s made me somewhat cold over the years. Nor would I want to be lacking the maturity gained over that same period of time.
I consider myself pretty adaptable, and I hope that persists throughout the rest of my life, so I’m not one of those 75 year old men that detests anything that’s new and won’t learn how to use the newest iteration of cable box remote controls. Because of this fact, I tend to keep up with new trends (though some I still find laughable and avoid), technologies and other shifting social/cultural norms so I can see where I use YouTube and the Internet in general much like the author, but still can find it to be a main source of entertainment much like his son as well. I suppose this is due to the fact that my generation was born on the cusp of the technological era humanity finds itself in. We had gaming systems and cable right from the start, and watched the dawn of the Internet age. We weren’t too old to shy away from it, but weren’t quite old enough to harness it’s power just yet. Those born in later generations had a head start on us, having the Internet from birth and having all of this information at their fingertips. I imagine they will be even more adaptable as a whole.
I wonder though, if the constant inundation from the time you are old enough to comprehend such things is a good or a bad thing? On the one hand, you can use Google to answer nearly any question, to solve nearly any debate. On the other hand, doesn’t it seem like all of that potential is wasted on dumb shit?
Information at the touch of a button can make you smarter, if you absorb it; if you depend on it like a crutch you won’t be doing anyone any favors. Food for thought.