Generation Zero

monochrome computers

Thanks to my brother, I am part of the Generation Zero. As Generation Zero I would like to define these people who grew up with the beginning of computer and Internet technologies. I am aware, that the computer revolution started earlier, but I am talking here about the time when a broader community (and not only military and universities) were able to use this machines, the late early-mid 90’s. Thanks to my brother, I was able to grow up with the Schneider with monochrom green display, Commodore 64, Amiga and whatnot before the 486 DX2/66 with the first modem happened – also thanks to my parents to make that possible.

In another article, I was arguing, that the term of ‘generation’ becomes blurred in times with fast technological development pace such as now. The generation I talk about in this article means the original term of generation father-children. Even though, the kids who are 16 years now are different from me, I am seeing the kids who are 1-5 years old as Generation One. Why Generation One? Generation One means, that they grow up with possible access to Information- and Communication Technologies and the Internet as soon as they are born. Seeing a two-year old playing with an iPhone reflects what I am writing about here.

In a way, my parents generation also belongs to Generation Zero. At least those of them who want to be part of it and use ICTs. Let us finally get to the core of this article. The Generation One which is now growing up has a problem. Information about them are on the Internet – forever, inevitable and undeletable – before they even know about it, without them being able to do something about it. When they are fourteen, they may find on the Internet: Pictures of them in diapers, videos of them running around the garden nacked and hundreds of people knowing of them already – sometimes more then they do. Why is that?

That is, because Generation Zero is not aware of themselves. We had and have the opportunity to control most of the things that are on the Internet about us. If you cannot ask someone to delete pictures of you e.g. from Facebook, you can at least untag yourself. We have all the options in the world e.g. never creating any online account at all – so as some people of my parents-generation do. Thus, a lot of us do not return the favor to Generation One. Every single cute shot, every unimportant movie of their children has to be shared. Why? Because it is easier to share it and may be adapt the privacy setting (and oxymoron in itself) to hope they no one else will find out about it. What happened to the good old photo albums? To difficult to meet up for a coffee and show the pictures and maybe videos of your son or daughter? Of course everyone wants to show off with his or her children. This is natural and pretty normal, but why on Earth does everything have to be online?

If I would be part of Generation One – in ten years from now – I would be soooo pissed with my parents if they did that to me. Just imagine, you go to a family meeting, and everyone has gzillion of pictures and videos of you. What a horror! Not only were you not aware of the picture taking but you also had no say in putting it on the Internet forever. That is a violation of my privacy rights. You think I am to pessimistic? Fine…imagine you are 16 years old, you go the coffee shop in your village, and the daughter of the owner (who is a friend of your parents) greets you with “Hey, I saw you on the potty!” – seriously?

When it comes down to Green-issues, we talk so much about sustainability and that we only borrowed the Earth from our children and so on, so far – but no one ever talks about our constant violation of our children’s future, but posting so much information about them on the Internet.

If you are one of the Generation Zero’s who is doing that, please, it is not an insult. It is just a fair reminder and a way of trying to make you think. Give it a thought and try to figure out if what you are doing is fair to your children.

Enjoy your Sunday and thanks for reading!

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