Politics aside, I despise Big Tech. It spies on you, takes advantage of your information, despises open source, and has complete domination over the internet. These companies after a certain point know more about you than your closest friends and family members, and there's a point where they know you even better than yourself. Worst of all, Big Tech has managed to deceive the general public by getting them to believe that they're the good guys and will never exploit your information and privacy. Big Tech has single-handedly created a generation of tech-illiterates that don't know the first thing about technology and why their privacy is a fundamental right that shouldn't be trampled upon.
Big Tech Is Too Easy To Use
Big Tech only cares about one thing and one thing only: making money (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), they do this through clever and deceptive marketing, and making their products as easy to use as possible. The problem with making technology too easy to use and too accessible is that it discourages actual problem solving and critical thinking skills. So when we say that millennials and zoomers are tech-literate, most of the time they're only literate with things such as smartphones, basic operating systems such as Windows or macOS, and basic web-surfing on their browsers, which requires little to no brain power at all. If you ask any of these so called tech-wiz how their computer works or show them a terminal, be prepared for a whole lot of disappointment.
People like to think of Baby Boomers as being tech-illiterate, but I think that Baby Boomers, especially the ones that have studied in the tech-field are much more capable of actual problem solving in technology than any zoomer can. In fact, it was the so called tech-illiterate Boomers that created the World Wide Web that we know and use today, along so so many other inventions that changed the world. Using TikTok, spending time on social media, playing video games, and consuming content 24 hours a day doesn't make you any more tech literate than anyone else.
How Big Tech Makes Their Products Too Simple
When Zoomers want to use technology, what they want is graphics, pictures, and outrageously big buttons. The old days of actually reading text and understanding what something does are over, the new "flat" style of websites and design have overtaken the market, and it's absolute cancer.
Big Tech also turns on options that invade your privacy by default, the excuse being that it helps them improve their products and makes your life more convenient. There are a multitude of things wrong with that practice, having your privacy undermined shouldn't be the norm. If anything, it should be opt-in to have your privacy taken away; and maybe if these zoomers were actually tech-literate, they wouldn't need all of this "convenient" options.
Operating Systems: The Root of Tech-Illiteracy
The operating system of a computer is where tech-illiteracy is trained and encouraged. The OS of a computer sets the feel of the entire system, and Big Tech loves to make their OS's as user-friendly as possible, even if it means removing functionality for the sake of design and simplicity. macOS is infamous for this, as on the outside macOS is a sleek, simple, and usable OS, but the moment any attempt is made to perform any sort of modification to it, good luck.
Big Tech's operating systems also enforce the use of their bloated proprietary software that barely functions properly, and getting rid of this bloatware is nigh impossible. These OS's are also riddled with spyware and telemetry, reporting every single thing you do back to HQ, using your browsing habits to serve you advertisements within the OS itself; there are endless problems with using an OS built by Big Tech.
Afraid for The Future of Technology
As of 2020, most of the older people from Generation Z are now heading off into college, and keep in mind that Gen Z is the generation that has had most interaction with Big Tech, meaning they're the most prone to being tech-illiterate. These oncoming freshman have also bought into the idea that landing a job in Big Tech is a one way ticket to endless success and 6 figure paychecks; so they're automatically signing up for a computer science degree, although they don't have the first clue as to what computer science actually is, just that it apparently makes you rich.
Any other fields in computers and technology, such as engineering, cyber security, networking, etc... are completely ignored by these ignorant zoomers, who think that they are so talented with computers to the point that computer science is going to be a piece of cake for them. Big Tech has not only created a tech-illiterate generation, but also a gullible and egotistical one.
How Can We Prevent The Next Generation From This?
If we want to encourage the next generation, maybe even our kids to become more tech-literate, and not rely on the hand-holding of Big Tech, we must teach them good habits regarding the usage of technology. Kids are a blank slate, and it's much easier to get them to rely less on Big Tech than Gen Z, zoomers as we know it are doomed.
Teach them about how the internet works, how their phones and computers work, how to leave a positive digital footprint, and teach them that Big Tech spies on them and doesn't have their best interests at heart. Convenience is not an excuse to become tech-illiterate and have your privacy undermined, especially in a society that is already depending on and rapidly increasing on technology and the internet.
As weird as it may sound, encourage the next generation to use technology less, and when they do, make sure that what they're doing is actually beneficial to them and trains good habits. Having your kids spend all their time on social media and consuming brain-numbing content is not helping them become tech-literate. As millions of mothers have wisely said, "everything in moderation." This gives an incentive for kids to spend time with technology wisely, and make sure that they learn something practical when they are.
I urge everyone to break away from Big Tech's dominance on technology, and instead opt for privacy-respecting, freedom-respecting, open source alternatives. Spend less time on the internet, and with the time you do have on the internet, make sure that it's productive in the sense that you actually learn something useful (i.e not "TRY NOT TO LAUGH CHALLENGE IMPOSSIBLE").