Perhaps it is the years of experience I've had, in front of a computer, a laptop or some sort of device with a screen. Talking about technology, attending press events in NYC and meeting the industry's most interesting people -- all older than me, but all with the same childish hunger to see what comes next.
Through all the microchips, electricity, input methods, operating systems and everything in between, technology of the 21st century has been a window into a new world, for all of humanity, but especially among teenagers. Are you curious about something no one knows of? Then you can search for it -- then come across the wrong answer.
You do more research, and eventually uncover the truth; inside you feel like you're a little like Indiana Jones, finding information that you believe that will make you a more complete human being. But in the grand scheme is that our world, you've done us all a great service: you've turned over a small stone, where in a river millions of them exist, but with every stone turned, the picture becomes clearer.
It's like the polar vortex than has needless to say, been plaguing New Yorkers for more than a month: only when the sun breaks out for the most brief of times, do you realize how beautiful the snow can be. That's what technology -- computer technology, mainly -- has the possibility of doing. Only until you filter out the useless Facebook messages, out-of-context tweets and all the GIFs from Reddit can you see that you, yes you, are in control of your own information network. Best of all, you can do anything you want to with it. There's no excuse not to understand that math problem in trigonometry, or have a source to cite in an essay. It's all on you now.
Of course, right off the bat, you must be thinking: "Here comes a geek, obsessed with technology, preaching about its effectiveness and adaptability, and how it's great for everyone labeled a teenager."
You're absolutely right. How else would you be reading this article? How else would you come to contemplate what's a "LOL" or send a text message? The keys to the future are in this young generation's hands, and despite all the problems the world is facing, the youngest have the most tools than any other generation before to fix them -- or make them worse. As Henry David Thoreau put it in an age before the Internet, "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through eachother's eyes, for just an instant?" Well, what do you think?
If only Thoreau knew that you could look into another person's eyes -- even if they were in fact just minuscule pixels on a screen -- thousands of miles away? What superpower is there to wish for, when we have technology that could let us meet new people, invent new things, help others, and even, in all of its stigma, hurt others or cause problems?
Teenagers (as of 2014) have a propensity, now more than ever, to be the most influential and informed generation of human beings ever seen. But that will only ever happen if we step up to the challenge, wake up and be prepared to take charge -- not in a subjective manner, but in an informed, responsible and powerful one.
What else is better than a will to do great things? The actions that it takes for those great things to happen.
Follow Stefan Etienne on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stefanetienne