How Technology is Empowering Youth

During the Middle Ages, the apprentices of craftsmen graduated to become masters, and started their own shops, at a much younger age than 18. Today, most people graduate from high school at that age, and are expected to remain disadvantaged until then. There isn’t a good reason why the youth of today should not be able to make useful contributions to arts, sciences, philosophy, and entertainment, despite their young age and inexperience.

Here are some examples:

  1. Dmitri Gaskin is a core developer of both jQuery and Drupal and gave a talk about jQuery on Google Tech Talks, while being 12 years old.

  2. Maria Aragon was 10 years old when she was recorded performing a cover of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way”, which has received over 50 million views on YouTube as of April 2013 (and which I like better than the original).

  3. Much previously, Samantha Smith changed the fate of the cold war, when being 10 years old, by the simple act of writing a letter.

  4. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Gauss started making important contributions to mathematics from a very early age.

Our contemporary culture expects kids (what Americans refer to as children, “pre-teens”, and “teenagers”) to remain “innocent”, naïve and inexperienced, and immature, and, as a result, most of them behave accordingly.

As I noted previously, Jennifer Lawrence was unusual in having received the Oscar’s at the relatively young age of 22. ( Previously, Marlee Matlin won it when she was 21 years old, back in 1986, but it was an isolated case. ). I anticipate, and hope, that Lawrence’s winning will bring forth an age where some even younger film makers, receive the Academy Awards. Perhaps as young as being 10 years old - perhaps younger.

The Internet and other modern technologies empower many other previously encumbered sections of the population aside from people of certain ages, but it's high time we recognise, that we enter a world where young people are more empowered.