As a follow-up to my recent post High Tech, Not So High Touch, or … ?, I found this article on CNN Technology today, entitled, “Can Internet Communication Sustain Us?” It discusses how some members of what the author calls the ‘tech generation’ are turning away from communication technology and back to the face-to-face variety.
This is an interesting development, yet based on the article I’m wondering how common this move away from technology is. Even so, it is interesting to start seeing more examples of younger generations thinking critically about the technology they are using, and the impact that it’s having on their lives.
This is also where educators can help. We may not know nearly as much about the digital tools and how they can be used in many more ways than what they were designed for. However, we can teach kids a thing or two about “interpersonal intelligence” (defined by Michael Bugeja, director of Iowa State’s journalism school, as “knowing when, where and for what purpose technology is most appropriate”), simply because with age usually comes social experience.
So, while teenagers experience in the digital realm, it’s important that they don’t lose sight of what’s happening in the physical realm. Maybe we need to start thinking of both realms as supplementary instead of simultaneous.
In addition, according to the article, more youngsters are becoming aware of problems associated with the online world, including cyberbullying and negative effects of digital traces left in cyberspace.
A few interesting quotes from students interviewed for the CNN article. According to one student:
Text messaging has become the easy way out. He’s had friends cancel a night out with a text message to avoid having to explain. He’s also seen some people ask for dates via text to escape the humiliation of hearing a “no” on the phone or in person. “Our generation needs to get over this fear of confrontation and rejection,” he says.
And finally, another student about his unsubscription from Facebook:
“I’m not sacrificing friends,” he says, “because if a picture, some basic information about their life and a Web page is all my friendship has become, then there was nothing to sacrifice to begin with.”
Image credit: facecrunch: