My relationship with media: childhood memories & the next generation

It is difficult to explain the complexity of my relationship with media; I love it, but I also dislike the fast-paced rate of change it is associated with. My media allows me to :

  • Listen to music
  • Keep in contact with my friends and family from afar
  • Use Google Maps and other GPS systems when I am lost
  • Rent a bike 
  • Order food 

And many other things which I do on a daily basis, for which I am grateful for. 

But, we must recognize that media are disappearing as artefacts, and are continuously evolving. This raises a few questions: Will this evolution ever stop? If so, when? When will ‘enough be enough’? Will society reach a point of ‘saturation’ in the market with regards to media and technology?

Media are becoming more and more pervasive in nature; they are everywhere, and can no longer be avoided or ‘turned off’. 

In relation to this, it saddens me to see how the next generation will live. They will be consumed by an entirely mediated reality, depriving them of the ‘real’ experiences that previous generations have lived through. 

To expand on this concept, personally, my best childhood memories included reading bedtime stories (hardback copies), listening to CD’s on my CD player, and tuning into the radio during our annual family road trips to France and Italy. Nonetheless, my favorite activity was watching Disney movie cassette tapes in my old basement. The walls were covered in shelves, filled with dozens, maybe even hundreds, of tapes. The possibilities seemed limitless. 

These older forms of media are now very different to the current virtuality of media. The next generation will most likely not have such opportunities to create raw, authentic memories in this way. A question we should ask ourselves: do you think future generations will know what cassette tapes are, as they have evolved into online streaming services such as Netflix and HBO? No, probably not. The same applies to hardback copies of books – there are now online (PDF) versions and tablets such as the IPad and Kindle, so there is no need for physical copies (paper versions). Furthermore, CD’s have been replaced by audio music streaming service providers, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

So, what’s left for the next generation(s)? How will they make ‘real’, genuine (childhood) memories in this increasingly virtual, mediated world? 

Student number: 13809628


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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