A Voice Behind the Screen for Beyond it

By Jessica Phillips

Hoof Print (McDonough, Georgia)

“I am scared to see what your generation will become when you all are my age.”

A teacher lets slip one day while trying to control the class full of students before her.

Her eyes widen with panic as she realizes what she has done. She cannot believe she has fallen to that level due to her frustration. She takes a deep breath and turns to her classroom, only to realize that her students were not even paying attention to her.

She is momentarily taken aback when she realizes that through her frustrated tyrant – these students saw her with the same faked respect given between classmates.

Her students, she realized, were – at this moment – mindless. The students she worked daily to teach and help grow were preoccupied with whatever high-resolution game had recently made its debut to the Apple store.

These respected students sat smacking their gum while tapping away at their keyboards like Beethoven would have a piano – each stroke delivered with intent. Intent that no longer was present behind their work, but instead behind a phone screen.

A generation stuck behind their screens.

Obsessed. Preoccupied. Engaged. Engrossed.

Unavailable.

We are the generation that has chosen to make our technology the most important aspect in our lives. We are the generation that has chosen to allow our phones to be glued to our hands at all times.
We are the generation that is so completely absorbed within our online lives that we neglect the ones we are supposed to be working toward excelling in.

We are the generation that is unavailable.

It has never been uncommon for high-school students to be immersed in their social lives – to care greatly about what other people think. It has never been a crazed concept that students are going to be preoccupied during classes – or that they’ll have other stuff on their mind during said classes; however, we are the guinea pig generation for the effects of social media upon our daily, active lives.

We are the first generation to have social media overtake who we are.

It has become so important for us to keep a good face online, that we are no longer concerned with who we are on the literal outside.

We are the age of selfies, tweets, and status updates.

We are the generation of likes, group chats, and snaps.

We are the first group of teenagers to grow up in a society where social media is the only basis of a friendship; of a relationship; even of a disagreement that turns into a pair of enemies. We are the age of hating someone before you’ve even been able to endure their character.

We are also the generation of cyber bullying.

A generation that hides behind the digitalized phone screens, saying nasty things to hurt one another. We are the first generation to allow our dislike of someone to be public – for our negative opinions to be broadcasted for the entire world to see; because, really, we are not the ones stating that opinion.

It’s become a game of who can hurt each other the worst while ignoring each other in person.

We are the first generation to take to social media as a form of therapy – as a form of a way of getting attention.

We have neglected ourselves as real entities and traded what we have in for a virtual reality that we feel could make or break who we are.

But don’t get me wrong; we are a generation of change, too.

We are the generation who stands up for what they believe in, and a generation closer to true equality than ever before. That title, however, comes with a price. To be the change, you must establish yourself as one who can be respected in society.

We will not be respected as adults if we still blast our music loudly when asked to stop by a superior.

We will not be respected as voters if we attack others for what they believe in during a twitter debate.

We will not be respected as citizens who can change the world if we cannot simply sit down and allow ourselves to be educated by those who are much wiser.

I say all this to remind my generation that we are not invincible and that everything we do goes noticed. We are never invisible to society.

It’s beneficial to remember that each of us has a voice beyond the screen.

The change begins when we find ourselves unafraid of being noticed behind the screens.

Generation “Y”, your time is now.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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