Should we panic about the ‘digital natives’?
(UK) Came across this article from the National Youth Agency outlining concerns for the online habits of young people, in particular their use of social networking sites such as MySpace.com and also their developed adoption of multi-tasking.
For example, is living in a virtual world the same as the real one? I don’t think so. Do discussions with friends on MSN and other chat rooms alter the way young people communicate when they meet each other in the real world? How do judgments about other people’s emotions, needs and sensibilities change when you communicate electronically, often at great speed, in text language and in sentences rarely more than four words long?
I am under no illusions about the effects of a digitalised lifestyle and the questions raised are ones which have to be tackled. But as Mark Pensky outlined in his book, young people today are digital natives—yes it has an effect on how they think, interact, see the world plus their expectations of public services, relationships and education—but I think it’s the latter that has to change with the times.
As noted in the last line of the article, it is about balance which is why I always say to the young people I work with, ‘real-life has more bandwidth’. However, my opening line on the MediaSnackers site (the world has changed and it’s not looking back) still holds true and to deny it is simply foolish.
Would love to see another article looking at the positive effects of such technology—I might ping them and see if they would like one from me (although past experience will say no).