This week I had a very interesting discussion. We were talking about the differences between our generations. More precisely our first assumption was that we are not from different generations but even five years make a difference. Why is that?
The technological development is so fast during our lifetime, that we can hardly categorize lifetimes when we talk about technologies. We then came to the conclusion that while the absolute number of people who really understand what they are doing with computers and on the Internet is the same as fifteen years ago. However, the relative numbers are different. While fifteen years ago there were not a whole lot of people out there in the cyberspace, now there are a lot. The assumption is, that a lot people do not even know what they are doing.
Most of them know how they can use Facebook, Twitter or how to Text but that the founder of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg or that one of the first instant messages were piggy-backing on telephone lines – not a lot of people are aware of that. Most of them do not even know how to install an operating system. Why is that?
Well, people who grew up with computers and the Internet, had the advantage of ‘only’ having to stay up to date. They acquired IT knowledge as it was generated. If you are turning ten or twelve in these times, there is a lot of IT knowledge to catch up. For me it is sometimes difficult to stay on top of the new developments but imagining that I have to start from zero, hell no!
Actually, there is nothing wrong with that development. I don’t have to know how a watching machine works in order to use it. Same with a car, even though it sometimes might proof helpful. But if I do not know how to adjust Facebook’s privacy settings – or worse just don’t care about it – that might be worse than not being able to fix your watching machine.
I don’t blame people for not knowing how to install an operating system. And to be honest, I also don’t care about people adjusting their privacy settings but they should care. Not only can compromised machines (in the event of lack of knowledge in the basic IT security sector) can lead to serious damage on other persons computers but it might also cause a lot of damage on the owner’s computer and files.
Computers and the Internet among other technologies will be not only essential for our private life but even more for our professional life. Therefore, we should be aware of what we are working with, whats behind it. Awareness is important and will be a plus in a lot of situations.