A Nice Time To Look Back

Media, to me, is still a concept hard to grasp. I treat media similarly to my real life – or perhaps media and my life are not even separated, or there is no other ‘real’ life apart from media at all. My perception of media changed a lot since I first ‘know’ – or acknowledge my active usage of media – until when I was consciously concerned about my media usage, then I don’t even notice my media usage anymore. Looking back, my media usage started with Tom and Jerry and Power Ranger DVDs I watched daily on my grandparents’ DVD player – I don’t even remember how I knew to put the CD inside the player and went through numerous buttons and settings to turn the movie on – it seems like a routine that I integrated since I cannot remember. Back then, watching such DVDs and owning such DVDs were a children’s luxury, for us children who bragged about how many episodes we have watched, and who can remember the details better. And I still remember how amazed I was when I first saw some big LED TVs, or TVs that came with sets of 3D glasses, and could even connect to the Internet – all those big, shiny, and delicately sophisticated devices were a myth, a prize, a study goal, a small personal pride when our families possessed one. Online games were still something unfamiliar and complex and magical, of all the games in different genres and colors within one website. As I grew up, such devices were still some captivating entities, were still the prizes for us after a task well done, for a good grade, were times we sneaked our parents to play one or two games on the computer. Games were such an unfamiliar concept and something that seem exclusively ours. “How can our parents play games” – I still remember myself asking after dad asked me how to play a particular mine-digging game.

The appearance and possession of such devices in most households could either reflect children’s privileges or parenting methods. Children owning mobile phones can mean either their families are rich enough, or their parents are lenient enough to let them own one. I remembered times I had to sneak some precious minutes of reading manga on my phone, or my thrilling quests to search for the Wi-Fi cable – my parents tended to hide them around the house when they went to work during the day (to reduce my media use as much as possible). All the conversations concerning the use of media devices with my parents were tedious, and often ended up in additional time restrictions or having my phone thrown away. Until when I entered high school, owning such devices was still a privilege, and sometimes one’s value could be judged via whether their phone is an I-phone or other unnamed Android device. But how time has changed since when I had to squeeze some time before bedtime to read some pages of manga. And how long has everything changed, since when using mobile phones was a bad, additive activity and we often avoided letting our parents see us with phones until these days when our grandparents and parents are asking us how to use social media. And how much time changed since when I used to envy others for having mobile phones, to now the mobile phone is always in my hand, throughout the whole day.

My feelings with media are similar to other feelings in my real life – still, there is no other “real” life separated from media. When doing something, I don’t separate whether I do something with media or without media, it is just a tool in our real life. I feel no hesitant – maybe overly confident – when opening my phone or doing some tasks with my media devices. Sometimes, I still cannot perceive how – and why – I feel that comfortable when exposed to such devices. Time has changed a lot, and also our perception of media. And similarly, such media devices are only a tool within our lives, a close and needed tool indeed – we can use fire for cooking, or fire for burning, it depends on how we use the tool, on what we are doing with such tools in hand – nothing is good or bad itself. And that is exactly the reason I enjoy my media – most things are within my control, and the better I am aware of my media usage, the more I can exploit such media devices, use them as another tool toward my wellbeing.

Student ID: 13667726


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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