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August 12, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – Cyber

A lot can be—and has been—said about the internet. But like all things that we see and hear too much of, thinking about the internet too much can get a bit overwhelming and rather boring—just like all new toys, eventually the novelty wears off.

It’s pretty fucking obvious: the internet is changing the world around us. Most of us grew up in a world where the internet was already an integral part of people’s lives; the “scccrrchhhbeeep-beeeep-scccrrrch” of dial-up but a distant childhood memory, along with your parents begging you to get off Neopets so they can use the phone. Now here we are, all grown up and at university, and it’s no surprise to see that the internet has grown up with us: now available 24/7 on a smart phone that’s glued to your hand and costs less than you paid for your very first Nokia 2280.

Having matured in step with the world wide web, these changes aren’t as drastic for us as they are our parents—for most of us, the internet hasn’t changed the way we live our lives, but rather has determined it. As the first generation to live our lives online, then, we bear the greatest risks of the information we share coming back to bite us. With a lifetime of dick-pics and drunken statuses stored indelibly online, a photo of John Key planking, or Bill Clinton’s infamous “did not inhale” will seem by comparison mere misdemeanours by the time our peers get in the public eye.

And, yet, still we do it. Call it a sense of inevitability, apathy, or just youthful indiscretion: most of us are pretty loose with our personal information. Sure, we probably shouldn’t air every last detail of our lives for all the world to see, but we’d rather fuel our narcissistic tendencies and get validation for that ‘fun’ night out; gloat about a sexual experience, or bring the lols, than worry about the potential repercussions of those pixels. At least they’re filtered now.

You don’t need to be told: we’re spending too much time online. You’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot harder to focus now than it was when you got your first Bebo account; you’ll be surprised if you leave Uni without a pair of prescription reading glasses and extra frown-lines from the worry of deciphering your crushes use of Facebook’s new ‘rabbit in a martini glass’ emoticon. Yes, it’s probably a bit risky, but fuck worrying about all that now. Right now we’re more concerned with how we’re going to make it through the next few weeks of winter—not to mention, when the fuck we’re going to graduate. Everything seems a little bleak right now, and if looking at mood-enhancing lolcats in the meantime means we end up distracted and blind, then so be it.

They say that with age, comes wisdom. Unfortunately in our rapidly passing early twenties, so too does a massive student debt. But we’ve been around this campus long enough to know that this Week Five, Trimester Two doldrums is an annual occurrence and not necessarily all the fault of the fifth year of a National-led Government (see: polls). Everyone feels kind of shit at the moment—student counselling is booked up until October; a tsunami of assignments is just about to hit; everything that was fun about your flat is now covered in mould; and you just get drunk on weekends because there’s nothing else to do—it’s too cold to go out sober, and you just want to switch off. Legally.

By Monday morning your room is filled with empty McDonald’s bags and a faint scent of alcohol, and it’s time to go back to lectures again. The convenience of being able to access your slides on Blackboard justifies staying in bed a little longer. When you do eventually make it outside, the sky is still grey. You signed up to four new tutorials, and none of them delivered a potential pash. Winter pounds are packing on. The Hub has lost the appeal it had at the start of the year, now filled with crumpled By-Election propaganda, empty coffee cups, and lazy cunts’ rubbish. Pipitea is still alarmingly creaky post-earthquake.

Getting caught in a bleak cycle is all too easy, but not always so simple to get out of. We don’t have the answers, but we can assure you that your current slump will eventually come to an end; it always does. In the meantime, you can always plug into the most accessible escape young people will ever have: our childhood friend and longtime companion, the internet. Spend long enough lurking its murky depths and eventually you’ll think that morphing your face with internet cats is a good idea for an editorial photo.

 

Molly & Stella

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About the Author ()

Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly are Salient Co-Editors for 2013, AKA Salient Babes.

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