What's Wired World Doing To Kids?

Reuters, Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:37 AM
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How is “always-on” technology affecting the intellectual and social development of young people? Who knows! According to the Pew Research Center, over 1,000 technology insiders, critics and students were pretty evenly split about how the digital age is impacting the teenagers and 20somethings of "Generation Y." Summing up Pew’s finding, Reuters writes: “There is a good chance young people growing up in today's always-wired world will eventually become bright, nimble decision makers -- if they don't wind up intellectual lightweights unable to concentrate long enough to chew over a good book.”

In the survey, 55% of respondents agreed with a statement that in 2020, the brains of young people would be "wired" differently from those over 35, with good results for finding answers quickly and without shortcomings in their mental processes. That said, 42% were pessimistic, agreeing with a second statement that by 2020, young technology users would be easily distracted, would lack deep thinking skills and would thirst only for instant gratification.

"There is this tension going on between the positive and the negative (aspects) that we foresee," Janna Anderson, an associate professor at North Carolina's Elon University and one of the study's authors, tells Reuters. "Right now, a lot of people (in the survey) are responding, 'That's already my life.' They are anticipating this."

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