Tech-enabled teens have world at their fingertips

By Sam Boggiss

"The air was cleaner 50 years ago." "But now we've got cellphones." "That cause cancer!"

It's an ongoing argument: is life today more rewarding and enjoyable for teenagers than it was 50 years ago?

I am adamant that it is and I believe that now, everyone, especially teenagers, have many more opportunities.

These are academic, business and physical, all of which can lead to a more rewarding future.

Some say we are living in the age of information or technology, but I believe it is the opportunity age.

First, the education system has been vastly improved, helped by technology. This has made education more enjoyable.

As well as the advances it has enabled in education, technology has also revolutionised our social lives, providing us with mobile phones and online networks.
Finally, entrepreneurial opportunities are now numerous, a big improvement on the pathetic range of 50 years ago.

Every teenager's life is dominated by school, so it's great news the education system is light-years ahead of its historic counterpart.

Much research has been done in the past 50 years into education. We now know how children of each age learn, enabling us to optimise childhood education so that we can get the most out of our time at school.

Unfair forms of punishment, including the strap, have been replaced with incentives that are just as effective, if not more so. It was this that made education so unenjoyable 50 years ago. Now, while no one likes to admit it, it isn't all that bad.

Class discussions and other interactive methods of teaching are also employed, providing motivation to learn.

A big part of this is technology.

Technology in schools has been hugely improved in the past 50 years. We now have computer labs with enough PCs for a class full of students. This gives us direct access to the internet, the world's largest knowledge base.

It also opens up a massive window of opportunity for specialised subjects, including graphic design.

Fancy phones and social networks together provide another advantage for today's teenagers. We love to be social, and this has become incredibly simple with the rapid development of a reliable phone network and capable social networking solutions.

It's great that we can share whatever we're up to with friends, whether that be through text, photos or videos, and even invite them along to the event. Best of all, it can be done in a matter of seconds.

When it comes to getting your ideas off the ground, the entrepreneurial opportunities available to young people today abound compared with 50 years ago.

From activities like work experience days that everyone participates in, to national innovation competitions, the openings for showcasing your ideas are endless.

Businesses are also much more open to the opinions of young people, opening up further entrepreneurial possibilities for adolescents. Fifty years ago, teenagers and young adults were considered stupid. Their opinions were overlooked and not even taken into consideration.

It was commonly believed their minds had not developed, when in fact aspects of their mental capacity, including creativity, surpassed what adults were capable of.

Education is a more enjoyable, motivating process that provides youngsters with more stable feet to stand on when entering the world. Today's technology not only plays a part in this, but also provides us with amazing social possibilities through mobile phones and networking.

Finally, competitions aimed at teens and young adults are common and businesses are more open to us. Is this not ample proof that life is much more rewarding and enjoyable for teenagers today than it was 50 years ago?

Sam Boggiss, Year 10, Aquinas College, Tauranga

- NZ Herald

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