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How technology is creating "mini-generation gaps"

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posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:55 AM
Very interesting article in the New York Times -- "The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s." It examines the way technology is impacting the younger geneations.

Among its many interesting conclusions is that the turnover of technology is creating "mini-generation gaps," or speeding up the differences in ways kids relate to the world. Kids who grow up with iPhones have different experiences and expectations than those who grew up with the simple old-fashioned Internet, for example -- even if they are only 3 or 4 years apart.

One professor notes this as a potentially positive thing, saying kids are taking in more from each other via the net 2.0-style networks than they are from centralized sources like television or even old-style web surfing. This could make for more creativity and a proliferation of free expression. On the negative side, others worry that it will create kids with short attention spans, who expect instant answers to everything and will be unable to "buckle down" and do slow, patient work once they reach adulthood.

Personally, I have a cynical bent so I lean towards the latter view, although it doesn't have to be one way or another. I welcome anything that promotes diversity of opinion, creativity, and takes us away from a media world dominated by television and limited sources of info.

What do you thinK?

First, the source of the article:

An exerpt:

"Researchers...theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”

One obvious result is that younger generations are going to have some very peculiar and unique expectations about the world. My friend’s 3-year-old, for example, has become so accustomed to her father’s multitouch iPhone screen that she approaches laptops by swiping her fingers across the screen, expecting a reaction.


Now in their 20s, those in the Net Generation, according to Dr. Rosen, spend two hours a day talking on the phone and still use e-mail frequently. The iGeneration — conceivably their younger siblings — spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks.

Dr. Rosen said that the newest generations, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and won’t have the patience for anything less.


More at source:

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:53 AM
I don't know. First thing I thought about was "Transparent aluminum?"


posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:59 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

There were MP3 players a long time before iPods came out. I've always thought of the iPod generation as being total suckers for silly eye candy. Macintosh's last good idea was the computer mouse, and they never bothered to patent it due to business incompetence. I was looking forward to the day when they would declare bankruptcy, but as it happens, people will glorify also-ran items if they just add a bit of glitter and gleam to them... and make them totally idiot-proof at the expense of functionality.

But I guess that isn't really your point, which is that it leads to a serious cultural difference. I think you are right. As my younger friends about 20 were showing off their silly gadget I just could not relate to that at all because I didn't see any value in them. But I think over time these things even out. Even most elderly people today use computers regularly.

Now that government is on the verge of strangling innovation to death, I don't see the technology gap growing but rather shrinking. While innovation is on an exponential curve up, marketplace regulations that strangle innovation, technology, and products are growing at possibly an even sharper exponential rate that could destroy that gap you are talking about.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 03:01 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

This is 100% absolutely happening, I know because I am currently in such a mini-gap. When I was in middle-school, at the turn of the millenia, it was the big thing to have a cell phone. By high school every kid, even the social "rejects" had them, but I never did.

I still don't own a cell phone, let alone an iphone. These touch screen phones really bother me. I had to borrow my friends phone to make a call once, it was a touch screen, I went through app after app and icon after icon but couldn't find one that said PHONE. He had to do it for me, pressing some unknown combo of icons just to get the dial screen up. Seriously a PHONE where the phone capability isn't one button away????

Anyway these mini-gaps are happening but it doesn't bother me too much, I like being behind the curve by a few years...

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 03:19 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

Perhaps, but I just don't find the next generation geekier enough. And it doesn't look to me that they're spiritually wiser, too. With all that social networking thingy, do they become more tolerant, or become more selfish as they try to be popular and successful.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 03:36 AM
I graduated in '93 from high school. back then cell phones were the size of VHS tapes (like Zac's in Saved By The Bell :lol
, the internet was damn near non-existant and I was more than happy playing my 16-bit Sega Genesis. I often feel like I have more in common with people in their 50's than with people in their 20's

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 04:30 AM
reply to post by truthquest

Apple couldn't patented mouse because:
"Engelbart never received any royalties for it, as his patent ran out before it became widely used in personal computers." Mouse was patented at early sixties:
Apple (Jobs) got idea of GUI and mouse probably from Xerox.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 05:39 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

I feel sorry for the kids...they are loosing.


posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 05:59 AM
Well, I dont think there is much of a "mini-generation" gap. With the whole computer technology thing I notice that you run into two kinds. 1. Kinds had little or no interaction with Information Technology until it was literally forced onto them and they begrudgingly accepted it. 2. People who were either interested or may have been working in IT throughout the 50's.60's.70's or 80's. These people are the hardcore hackers and, in my opinion, can really be thought of as the first generation of the internet/IT/Cyber. I have alot of people look at me and say that IT comes easy to me because I grew up with it (Im in my mid 20s). Well yes and no. The technology was certainly different but the concepts haven't changed much. Older generations grew up with IT tech too, it just wasn't as well known and wasn't forced onto them, they just took and interest.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 06:58 AM
reply to post by NightoftheComet

I agree with you. I'm 33 years old now and I'm really working with computers for 15 years now. First 10 years I worked as graphic designer (2d/3d/animation) and last five years I work as network admin (switched from Win to Linux). Out of this perspective I can say that major change in IT world for last 15 years is switching from IPv4 to IPv6 - this change is almost unnoticed by general public, even by many "IT journalists". Talks about web2.0/inet2.0 are plain BS - there is no major change in concept. In fact, as I'm older and older, there is widening gap between me and teenagers - I know more and more, but they are perpetually stupid - till my senility.
There is something different, no technological gap, but radical change in social interaction is at play. And as always there is positive and negative side of this change.

Another view on theme: My 75 years old mother have same "stupid" questions about computers as my 20 years old secretary - both are not dumb ...

EDIT to add: ITs had invaded our world very quickly and there is almost no relevant philosophical reflection of this invasion. IMHO lack of reflection is producing fake technological gaps.
Another thing is IT manufactures policy. They are lying when they say their product is "user friendly". This mean striped of functionality with no documentation. IT are very complex and friendly only to experienced users. After few years is "user friendly" WinXYZ server just nonsense generating more troubles then comfort. And these "wonderkids" are still "wonder" only on "friendly" layer - they have no knowledge of background concepts, they are not able to use C/C++ to explore and use opensource software in full scope.
So if there is widening gap, it is between oldschool IT professionals and general public (I'm now thinking only "internet connected" subgroup). Many people connected to inet do not know how to use it. But they do not know because they are not able to work with information. These are people who would never visit library in pre inet times ...

[edit on 14-1-2010 by zeddissad]

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