Ahh kids. So cute, aren’t they? These little “digital native”-buggers take to new technology like a fat kid takes I would take to an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Teens and young adults are some of the most Internet-savvy people out there, and they have often mastered new gadgets before their parents have mastered the “on/off” switch.” For example, think back to last summer when a 17-year-old boy managed to hack into and unlock an iPhone. I don’t even think I’d be able to get the case off the phone, and I consider myself relatively intelligent when it comes to new technologies.
So, the question then becomes, what kind of impacts are these new technologies having on the current generation of young people? Will the technology help them become smarter, more astute adults who know a lot more about more things than their parents’ generation? Or will they degrade into a mass of acronym-spewing, proper-English-devoid, short-conversation imbeciles? Case in point, a fabulous Verizon commercial that debuted relatively recently:
This question is the focus of the Pew Internet Project’s latest report, Writing, Technology, and Teens, which considers the methods teens use to write, both in formal and informal situations, and how the Internet and more abbreviated forms of communication (e.g., emoticons, lack of proper grammar like capitalizations and punctuation, and the use of abbreviations such as LOL, etc.), are creeping into students’ more formal writing endeavors.
This is a great read if you have any interest on the impact of technology on youth. For a brief summary of findings, check out the Associated Press’ article on the report here.