From Overseas Press

How will Internet-savvy teens affect China?

Updated: 2010-07-21 17:22
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A CNN article on July 19 took a close look at China's post-90s generation, the first generation to grow up with the Internet.

According to the article, these teens differ from the former generations, because they "have no memory of China's tumultuous past, instead only experiencing it as a country with rapid economic growth underscored by rampant consumerism and globalization." They are considered "very aggressive and outward-looking and are pretty confident because they've never felt hardship."

More important, they have grown up with the Web, which provides them a platform to "live lives that depart from age-old cultural norms that remain ingrained in Chinese society today." The Internet may be one of the few places for them to sometimes show radical behaviors and freely express their true feelings, according to the article.

Zakfa Zhang, with China Youthology, said, "On the Internet, they have the chance to be individuals. It is a totally new space for youths to feel independent. They can criticize anyone, and no one will tell them they are wrong, and they can express themselves online without many restrictions."

They communicate on "social networks, like Kaixin001 and Renren, post comments on microblogs as well as use instant messaging service QQ and Qzone, its social networking site and other online bulletin boards." "On these platforms, they form what some have described as 'tribes' or 'clans,' which can consist of thousands of members communicating via 'Martian' language."

Han Yinbo, co-author of "An Exploding Internet Revolution," said that these teens "learn how to be leaders, to solve interpersonal conflicts in the virtual world. These online activities make them more mature, give them more options and enlarge their worldviews. Former generations didn't enjoy such colorful worlds. Their understanding of the outside is limited and monotonous."

Don Tapscott, author of "Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World," "believes the post-90s generation is much more entrepreneurial than their elders. They have a completely different culture than their parents. What happens online does materialize. It does drive behavior changes in the real world."

Then how will the post-90s generation impact China as "they mature into adults and become employees?" The answer may be partly seen from young, rural workers in factories who are "unwilling to accept the low wages and poor working conditions of the past."

Their "laissez-faire, independent and entrepreneurial attitude toward life" makes them more picky about their work conditions.