Lucky 13

When you look back on your past, how do you remember yourself when you were 9 years old? When I think about my elementary and middle school days, I shudder at the memories of my metal braces, unfortunately “hip” Abercrombie wardrobe, and inability to interact in public without doing something incredibly awkward.

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I hope I am not alone when I try not to recall my embarrassing adolescence, but Jordan Casey may beg to differ. At a mere 9 years old, Casey started his programming career, and by the age of 13 developed 4 apps on for retail sale on the iTunes App Store. His interest in gaming at a young age led him to become 2012’a youngest app developer and owner of his own gaming company, Casey Games. He got himself started through “how to” books, programming tutorial videos, and conversations with gaming peers on the Internet. His premier app “Alien Ball vs. Human” shot to the top of download charts and he attended entrepreneurial conferences across the nation to launch his apps and his image. At first he claims his work was overlooked due to his age.

“They just thought I was doing a game, or it was a hobby, but they are starting to take me a lot more seriously now.”

Casey has created all types of apps from games to utilities since he first made his way into the digital market. Whether he is working with tiny creatures in his game “My Little World”, or aiding aid teachers in the classroom with his creation, “TeachWear”, Casey leaves his innovative and impressive mark in the tech world. Casey claims that he wants to continue his career as an entrepreneur in the software industry for the rest of his life.

While Casey’s image even surpasses the term inspirational, his ability to succeed at such a young age leaves me in awe. Before the development of the digital, Web 2.0 age, it would have been trivial to even consider a “tween” capable of work, let alone capable to manage and create their own company. Many citizens are concerned with the increased dependence on technology in today’s society, but the access to information granted by tools such as the Internet creates incredible potential for innovation.

The idea of the “generational myth” in technology revolves around the idea that generational differences bind society to inequality in digital use. However, Siva Vaidhyanathan points out that demographic differences, rather than age, tend to be the determining factors of discrepancies with the use of technology. Furthermore, Ito and the contributing author’s of the “White Paper” focus on youth engagement with technology and the influences it can have towards societal growth. From merely “hanging out”, “messing around”, and “geeking out” in online spaces, technology can act as an important space for education and even mend the gaps of the perceived generation gap. Casey’s success is a perfect example of young users “geeking out” in expert discussion with online peers. Casey learned from other gamers, and other gamers learn from him, regardless of age or a hierarchical order. Online spaces allow for the collaboration of ideas between adults and youth based solely on skills and expertise, which is something that is extremely difficult in offline realities with hierarchical orders, existing biases, and physical constraints.

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I am amazed by Jordan Casey’s success, and I wish I had spent my younger years developing innovative tools instead of worrying about what would happen in the latest Hannah Montana episode. While I cannot go back in time, I think it is wonderful that today’s youth has access to the Internet and the ability to achieve unimaginable goals with the growth of online spaces.

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