要关掉讨厌的WiFi吗 A teen superhero
本文摘要:When I was a child, I would sometimes lie in bed imagining what superhero powers I wished to possess. A cloak of invisibility? The ability to fly? The strength to lift cars? These seemed the most attractive options for a kid in 1970s Brita


When I was a child, I would sometimes lie in bed imagining what superhero powers I wished to possess. A cloak of invisibility? The ability to fly? The strength to lift cars? These seemed the most attractive options for a kid in 1970s Britain who adored sci-fi, Superman and Doctor Who.当我还是个孩子的时候,有时不会躺在床上想象自己想享有怎样的超人能力。伪装斗篷?需要飞翔?高举汽车的力量?对上世纪70年代的儿童来说,这些或许是最不具吸引力的选项,那时的英国人爱好科幻小说、《超人》(Superman)和《谜样博士》(Doctor Who)。No longer. Last weekend I went out to a shopping mall in a far-flung corner of suburban New Jersey, to accompany my tween daughter and friend to a “concert” of five wildly popular female YouTube stars named MyLifeAsEva, Meredith Foster, Alisha Marie, Mia Stammer and Sierra Furtado (no, I hadn’t heard of them before either).那些日子已沦为过去。上周末,我回到新泽西郊区偏僻角落的一家购物中心,陪着10来岁的女儿和她的朋友参与一场由5位广热门的YouTube女明星演出的“演唱会”。

她们的名字分别叫MyLifeAsEva、梅雷迪斯輠斯特(Meredith Foster)、阿丽莎鬠丽(Alisha Marie)、米娅施塔默(Mia Stammer)和塞拉弗塔多(Sierra Furtado)——没听说过吧,我以前也未曾听闻过她们。Halfway through this event, over the cacophony of screaming tweens, one of the stars posed the question that I used to ask: “What superhero power would you like?”演唱会展开到一半的时候,其中一位明星力过孩子们的尖叫声,明确提出了一个我小时候回答过的问题:“你们讨厌怎样的超人能力?”Not for them anything as dull as mere invisibility. Instead, one of the YouTubers declared she wanted “WiFi pulsing everywhere!” — and the crowd cheered. The ultimate superpower dream for this generation, in other words, is unlimited, ultra-high-speed internet — presumably complemented by a smartphone battery that never runs out.他们可不想隐身术之类无趣的能力。取而代之的是,一名演唱者声称她想“无处不在的WiFi!”——人群旋即掌声一起。

换句话说,这一代人的终极超人梦想就是无限的、超高速的互联网——毕竟最差还有誓言消耗的智能手机电池。Welcome to 21st-century teen and tween culture — and a social challenge that confronts us all. When I was growing up, phones were something that kids occasionally used — and a “concert” was a place where an audience watched other people perform. But today’s kids are super-glued to their smartphones, whenever their parents let them (and they can access WiFi). And concerts are no longer just about watching “stars”. Far from it.青睐回到21世纪青少年文化——一项我们全都要面临的社会挑战。在我茁壮的年代,孩子有时候才不会中用电话,“音乐会”是观众喜爱别人演出的地方。


远非如此。At the “Girls’ Night In” (GNI) show that I saw last Saturday, for example, the YouTube stars certainly knew how to perform: their antics left the audience screeching with all the gusto of a Beatles concert decades earlier. But singing was only a small part of the show; what they mostly did was chat with their audience and each other.例如,在我最近观赏的“女生之夜”(Girls’ Night In)表演中,YouTube明星的确告诉如何演出:她们玩耍的动作使观众尖叫声,煽起几十年前披头士(Beatles)演唱会上的那般热情。但唱歌只占到这场表演的一小部分;她们主要做到的是跟观众、以及互相聊天。

However, the important element of this show — at least for the tweens — was that the event and audience were being filmed for an online video, and everyone in the hall was taking selfies to be posted online. And what made it doubly exciting for the tweens was that the show blended “cyber” and “real” space in a striking way.然而,这场演出最重要元素——最少对这些孩子们来说——是表演和观众都在网上直播,大厅里每个人都正在自拍电影,然后零担网上。让这些孩子更为激动的是这场表演以令人瞩目的方式融合了“网络”与“现实”空间。

My daughter and her friends have become passionate fans of stars like Alisha Marie because they have seen their YouTube videos on the internet (apparently, the GNI crowd have some 13 million followers). But they were desperate to go to New Jersey, to see the GNI group on tour, to experience the stars “in the flesh”. “They touched my hand!” they shrieked, when the YouTubers reached into the crowd. But no sooner had the girls in that auditorium seen those stars in “real” life than they felt compelled to jump into cyber space again — by taking selfies to post online. Adults may think there is a distinction between “real life” and “cyber space”; for today’s kids, these worlds blur.我女儿和她的朋友们早已出了阿丽莎鬠丽之类明星的铁杆粉丝,因为她们在网上看完这些明星的YouTube视频(似乎,GNI人组有大约1300万粉丝)。但她们还是不顾一切地回到新泽西,观赏GNI人组的巡回演出,亲眼见到这些明星。当几位YouTube明星回到人群中时,孩子们尖叫声道:“她们碰到我的手啦!”但这些女孩们刚刚在“现实”生活中看到这些明星,就再度一头扎进网络空间中——自拍电影所发网际网路。

成年人有可能指出“现实生活”与“网络空间”有区分;但对于今天的孩子们来说,两个世界间的界限是模糊不清的。Is this a bad thing? Like many parents, I feel bewildered — and torn. One reason I went along to the concert last weekend was that I wanted to understand more about the stars that my kids suddenly seem to adore. And having endured two hours of high-pitched screeching (and bad pizza), I can report that the overt message from these particular YouTubers seems pretty harmless: Alisha Marie, for example, tells her girl fans to keep a sense of humour about high school, to “believe in yourself”, “love what makes you!” — and “accept the body you have!” As self-help messages go, it is probably healthier than the content I absorbed from films and books at that age.这是件坏事吗?同很多家长一样,我深感疑惑和纠葛。

我跟女儿一起去这场音乐会的原因之一是,我想要更好地理解这些孩子们忽然开始崇拜的明星。在承受了两小时的高声尖叫声(和差劲的披萨)后,我可以得出结论,这几个YouTube明星公开发表表达的信息看上去非常有害:例如,阿丽莎鬠丽告诉他她的女孩粉丝要对高中维持幽默感,要“坚信自己”、“爱人你茁壮的环境!”以及“拒绝接受自己的形体”。就励志信息而言,这有可能比我小时候从电影和书中吸取的内容更为身体健康。But what disturbs me is the topic that Sherry Turkle, an American author, describes in an important new book, Reclaiming Conversation: a fear about what all this cyber culture is doing to kids’ minds and social skills. A world where everyone is constantly taking selfies seems, to my generation, to be one that is unpleasantly narcissistic. And an era when kids assume that they need to be permanently “online”, or in performance mode, also seems a place that breeds very shallow conversations.但让我深感忧虑的是美国作家杜里舠尔克莱尔(Sherry Turkle)在一本最重要的新书《解救对话》(Reclaiming Conversation)中所叙述的话题:忧虑这种网络文化对孩子们的思想和社交技巧的影响。

对我这代人而言,一个所有人都在大大自拍的世界看上去是一个不讨人喜欢、神经质的世界。而且,一个青少年指出他们必须总有一天维持“在线”(或正处于演出状态)的时代,或许不能产生十分愚蠢的对话。Of course, as Turkle points out, there are plenty of things we can do to control these perils. We can track what our kids do online, limit their time on screens, take away their phones — or go to a New Jersey mall to see with our own eyes what they are watching. But completely banning (and even effectively policing) the internet is tough in a world where so much of life — for adults and kids — is now happening online. So I, like many parents, am frantically trying to understand this new, unfamiliar landscape. And sometimes harbouring secret fantasies about having anti-superhero powers: namely, the ability to switch off that wretched WiFi signal.当然,正如蒂尔克莱尔认为的,我们可以有很多事情可做来掌控这些风险。