In the essay, “What’s the Matter with Kids Today?” Amy Goldwasser’s argument is that parents of today’s generation of teenagers are fearful of the power that the Internet holds over their children’s capabilities. Parents don’t trust the Internet because it is something they didn’t grow up with, therefore they don’t understand or approve of their kids fervent use of the it. They just don’t get why “the average teen chooses to spend an average of 16.7 hours per week reading and writing online” (Goldwasser 4).
What parents truly are unable to comprehend is that blogging, IM’ing, emailing, texting, sharing, liking, and re-posting are forms of self-expression for today’s teen. “The Internet has turned teenagers into honest documentarians of their own lives–reporters embedded in their homes, their schools, their own heads” (Goldwasser 2).
Teenagers don’t view these methods as evil or heinous because (A) they grew up with them and (B) everyone else uses them. They have been the taught the dangers of the Internet and the importance of privacy, thus they think that through repeated use and experience, we are experts and couldn’t possibly fathom not using the Internet for everyday use. “They’re connected, they’re collaborative, they’re used to writing about themselves. In fact, they choose to write about themselves, on their own time, rather than its being a forced labor when a paper’s due in school. Regularly, often late at night, their generating a body intimate written work” (Goldwasser 2). Parents should stop fretting about their kids’ ‘addiction’ to the Internet; it has freed up space in teenagers’ brain. Once their brains were cluttered with dates and historical facts that can now be found on the Internet . “Twenty-plus years ago, high school students didn’t have the Internet to store their trivia. Now they know that the specific dates and what-was-that-prince’s-name will always be there; they can free their brains to go a little deeper into the concepts instead of the copyrights, step back and consider what Atticus and Scout* were really fighting for” (Goldwasser 3). “*Scout and Atticus: characters in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel “o Kill a Mockingbird. [Editor’s Note]” (Goldwasser 3).
“Teenagers today read and write for fun; it’s part of their social lives. We need to start celebrating this unprecedented surge, incorporating it as an educational tool instead of meeting it with punishing pop quizzes and suspicion” (Goldwasser 4).