We hear in the news all the time about a teenager committing suicide. We probably don’t even think twice about why the person did it. Thoughts in our brain come to conclusions like, maybe he or she had a depression disorder or maybe somebody he or she loved died. It probably never crosses our minds that this particular teenager could have been bullied to death. Fifteen year-old Phoebe Prince, a freshman at South Hadley High School was bullied to death. According to New York Times, “The taunting started when she had a brief relationship with a popular senior boy; some students reportedly called her an “Irish slut,” knocked books out of her hands and sent her threatening text messages, day after day.”1 This continued until one day, Phoebe had enough and hanged herself. She hanged herself because a group of teenagers had ridiculed her through Facebook, text messaging and writing demeaning words in her locker. Because Phoebe’s whole world was what people were saying about her on the computer and on their cell phones she lost her true inner self. This undeserved incident relates to the three writers we have studied for they believe that the rise of digital media foreshadows danger to our society. Neil Postman declares that the electronic media results in the disappearance of childhood. Gary Shteyngart connects social media to the end of the America. Sapphire connects illiteracy to the youths reliance in fantasyland, or in other words, television. Certainly, I agree with their propositions because I believe being bullied to death is unnecessary and it can be stopped. Internet bullying can lead to suicide, therefore we must end the rise of social media before it turns into external violence.
Postman believes that technology and internet growth results in childhood disappearing. He points out the period of the Middle Ages where there was no separation between child and adult. He believes that, “The absence of literacy, the absence of the idea of education, the absence of the idea of shame-these are the reasons why the idea of childhood did not exist in the medieval world.”2 Everything was exposed. There was no such thing as children and adults, everyone shared and did the same things. Then Postman explains how the printing press being invented had a huge impact because it, “created a new symbolic world that required, in its turn, a new conception of adulthood.”3 He then further talks about how a machine being built can result in having the machine control us. “But once the machine is built, we discover-sometimes to our horror, usually to our discomfort, always to our surprise- that it has ideas of its own; that it is quite capable not only of changing our habits but...of changing our habits of mind.”4 I say this is very true because like Phoebe Prince, we start to embrace ourselves in the world of internet, TV, cell phones and media that we forget how to think with just our brains. Technology takes over and we are left with violence, self esteem issues and suicide.
Postman continues to argue that "When man lives in an electronic environment, his nature is transformed and his private identity is merged with the corporate whole.”5 I fully agree with this statement because as we see in Phoebe’s case, being surrounded with just electronic media, we may end up losing ourselves to it. Our whole being is earmarked with what is going on in our phones and our computer that we forget everything else and that is all we ever think about. The problem in losing ourselves to electronic media is that it can have a very negative impact in our lives. This is true in Phoebe’s case, she ended up killing herself because her whole world was what people were saying about her on Facebook.
Moreover, Postman argues“When communication can be achieved by pointing with the finger, however, the mouth grows silent, the writing hand stops, and the mind shrinks.”6 I definitely think Postman is right because those cruel teenagers that bullied Phoebe...
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