WORRIES about the damage the internet may be doing to young people has produced a mountain of books—a suitably old technology in which to express concerns about the new. Robert Bly claims that, thanks to the internet, the “neo-cortex is finally eating itself”. Today’s youth may be web-savvy, but they also stand accused of being unread, bad at communicating, socially inept, shameless, dishonest, work-shy, narcissistic and indifferent to the needs of others.
I haven’t read the new Tapscott book – I frankly think I may have hit my lifetime quota of Tapscott books after reading Wikinomics -- but the Economist review suggests Tapscott is once again into accentuate-the-positive overdrive.
I recently read another book in this context, Born Digital, which is, imho, a well balanced survey of the pros and cons of the emerging “digital native” realities.
Coincidentally, I also attended a session on cyberbullying last night, presented by a speaker from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, which has some useful information resources available for download. Stark stuff, to put it mildly…
While I don’t doubt there is ample room for cautious optimism when it comes to digital natives and the cognitive and modus operandi evolution they represent, and while I also strongly agree we shouldn’t long for the days of children watching endless hours of mind-numbingly vapid television shows, it’s still critically important for people – especially parents – to stay focused on both the positive and negative potential in this increasingly digital and connected domain.