People can connect with each other in countless ways. Skype, text, instant messaging, Facebook, e-mail – the list goes on.
Technology users are getting younger and younger and are able to multi-task with several forms of technology.
According to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, 73 percent of teens, ages 12 to 17, use social networking sites, while 93 percent use a desktop or laptop to go online.
This new generation of tech savvy middle school and high schoolers has been dubbed the iGeneration by Dr. Larry D. Rosen, a professor at CSU Dominguez Hills and author of REWIRED: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn.
Rosen believes everything has become individualized and customized to “me.” For example, the individual can be highly selective in music and television choices. He does not believe, however, the iGeneration is more narcissistic than previous generations.
“The illusion of narcissism is the misunderstood part about this generation’s immersion in technology, particularly communication technologies,” Rosen said. “They have more ways available to communicate. It appears to others that they are wrapped in a tight techno-cocoon, but they are just multi-tasking with all the media we have made for them doing the upwards of seven media and non-media tasks at a time.”
According to the Nielsen consumer group, which compiles information about media choices, under-aged Americans average 10 text messages per every waking hour, which translates to 3,146 texts per month.
Rosen explained what he calls the iGeneration’s connection to technology.
“They spend nearly every waking hour ‘wired,'” Rosen said. “They carry their [wireless mobile devices], so that they can access the world whenever-wherever-whatever. It is their version of ‘www.'” Senior religious studies major Natanya Green believes there are positive and negative aspects to the advancement in technology.
“It’s easier to be distracted,” Green said. “Kids might not be as focused, leading to them not having a lot of follow up skills in school work or extra-curricular activities. The positive is that it really opens communication for them.”
How much more technologically advanced can kids become?
“This is the million dollar question that all technology companies are asking,” Rosen said. “I guarantee the newest generations will revolve around new media and technology that is just now under development. After all, it is the kids that are the first to embrace most everything, and they will lead the way.”
President of GenYes, a group that helps students and teachers to design technology-infused lessons and provide tech support to schools, Sylvia Martinez believes technology has not changed children today and can only benefit them.
“Even though we live in a different world, kids brains haven’t changed,” Martinez said. “Every generation is different from the previous one. It’s up to adults to support them to use new types of technology. Adults have less influence on their children if they condemn the new technology.”
Dave Verhaagen, a child and adolescent psychologist in Charlotte, North Carolina, told U.S.A. Today technology has changed children.
“You have kids from 18 months old who have a mouse in their hands,” Verhaagen said. “That’s going to make a big difference in how their brains work.”
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached email@example.com.