I hear people complain about kids all the time – the unruly ones whose deplorable behaviour gets pinned to the phrase “they must have been raised on the Internet.” It used to be that people complained about kids raised on TV, but now that it’s so common, they’ve moved on to the Internet. Well, my friends, I’d like to share with you some important things I learned by being raised on the internet.
1. Always fact check
I think this is the most important lesson. The Internet is full of lies. Before sharing a fact or using it in an argument, make sure it’s correct. If you don’t the person you share it with will, and you’ll look like an idiot. This is something that is becoming increasingly important as news sources are okay with spreading rumours as news as long as they put a question mark after it.
Is Obama a Muslim?
Global Warming Hoax?
Dinosaurs Not Actually Extinct?
Google that shit. Always consider whose word you’re taking to be fact.
2. How to talk to people of different age groups
Sometimes I find that adults have a hard time not condescending to young teenagers. It’s easy to get stuck only socializing with your own age group, but on the Internet, revealing your age is optional. When I was out and about on the internet as a 14-year-old, many of my online friends assumed I was in my mid-20’s. Being comfortable around different age groups is super handy and opens you up to a more diverse social life.
3. When not to feed the troll
There are people online who like to get a rise out of other people. Unfortunately, these people exist IRL as well. They walk around pissing people off just for the sake of it and with the abundance of them online, I’ve honed my Spidey-sense to know when there’s a troll in the dungeon. It keeps me from getting angry, so the troll withers and kindly screws off.
4. Calm discussion skills
Hand-in-hand with the troll lesson, I also learned that when there is a person who genuinely has a different opinion than you, mindless arguing leads nowhere. If you’ve spent 5 minutes on GaiaOnline, you’d know what I’m talking about. After a while, you get sick of that shit. So rather than get into a heated argument, I’ve learned to take a step back so I can calmly and respectfully put forth my point of view and reasoning then wait for a response. This is a much more productive way of talking to people who disagree with you.
5. General knowledge of other countries and cultures
This is especially awesome if you’re from a fairly homogenous place. Getting to know people in different parts of the world is so much better than learning about it through classrooms (though it’s probably a step down from actually going there). In high school, I had a friend in Mexico help me study for my Spanish final. How awesome is that? Me gusta.
Of course, these are all things that could be achieved offline as well. This is not to say that being raised on the Internet is in any way superior but I wouldn’t go so far as to blame the Internet for unintelligent asshat teenagers. I mean, I was raised online and I turned out okay, right?