The Pew Research Center’s survey results on technology’s effect on the next generation were posted last week. The online survey of technology insiders, critics, and students taken at the end of 2011 didn’t reveal anything too surprising. 55% agreed with the statement that in 2020 the brains of young people would be “wired” differently than people over the age of 35. The report states, “Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders.”
As an early twenty something, I can attest to this technology effect. Even in my own transition from high school to college, I’ve noticed that my attention span has decreased and my hunger for constant entertainment or new information has increased. There is little down time in my life anymore as I can always refresh my Twitter or Facebook news feed on my phone as I wait in line at the DMV or on the BART train. This was reflected in my study habits in school, my “wired” and “hyperconnected” brain forced me to take frequent breaks around short concentration periods. At the same time, I have never been more informed as I have been now. There are very few news articles or trends that I haven’t heard about soon after its happened. Facebook and Twitter are wide open stages for people to share their ideas and opinions. If anything, our hyperconnected-ness is starting conversations and forcing us to think about things we may never have been exposed to.
Reading these research results also reminded me of a YouTube video where a 2 year-old girl mistakes a magazine for an iPad and tries to move the pictures around. It’s a little bit scary and telling of the future. New parents and parents of the future are going to have to help digital native children navigate the real world.
View the results report here.
To learn more about the Pew Research Center visit www.pewresearch.org