Harvard Graduate School of Education’s profession Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s new book “The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigates Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination” was reviewed in the New York Times (11/3/13) by Jenna Wortham. The book points out what we all see everyday: young people living life through and with their smart phones, ipads, and laptops. While these users understand clearly the energy and immediate access that these devices provide, they may not be so aware of the potential downside: less physical activity, missing life’s moments when holding cell phones inn their laps during family dinners and surreptitiously reading and texting friends, and multi-tasking during movies, watching sports events, and even at concerts. Are these users paying more attention to their devices or to life which is happening in and around them? I think we all know the answer to that one!
But Wortham posits: “Gardner and Davis ask whether modern social networks are larger yet shallower than those of their parents and grandparents, but not whether these inflated online networks may also result in a greater valuing of close friendships and face-to-face interactions offline. They lament that creativity and playtime have moved out of the backyard and into the world of digital apps, but fail to ask whether this shift might lead someone to a better-paying job. In one key section, they examine youth obsession with self-presentation and multitasking, without exploring the possibility that those skills might prove tremendously useful and crucial elements to the workplaces of the future, which value those qualities as hallmarks of a successful employee.”