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Digital Natives

Jan Mayrhofer By Jan Mayrhofer on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 14 | Other Culture & Society Expertise:

According to Gary Small, director of UCLA's Memory and Aging Research Center, and author of iBrain - Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, has renamed the 70's "Generation Gap" and calls the new void between generations "the Brain Gap."

He calls those of us who grew up in a time of face to face communication (vs. technological communication modes) "Digital Immigrants". The younger generation has grown up with technology and tends to multitask as a lifestyle and so are the "Digital Natives".

Is technology having an evolutionary effect on the neurocircuitry in our brains? Gary Small, who is a neuroscientist believes that it is. When a task or activity is repeated over and over the circuits in our brains that control that activity are strengthened. Young people have acquired circuitry in their brains because of their exposure to technology (some estimates say eleven hours a day if you include texting!) that my generation do not have, but the neuro pathways that allow face to face communication are diminishing as a result.

Young people today are so attuned (addicted?) to their technology some college professors find they must allow break time for the students to catch up on their texting in order to hold their attention in the class room for any length of time.

I can't decide whether to be nervous and upset about these changes or to just accept these advances as our parents eventually learned to accept some of my generation's new ways of looking at life. (Not that I can do anything to change the way things are going!)

I know my kids are more adept at handling all kinds of technology than I am, but it hadn't occurred to me that organic differences in the makeup of our brains might be the reason why.

For more on this fascinating subject: http://searchengineland.com/the-wiring-of-the-digital-native-17140