19 September 2008

"Generational Myth: Not all young people are tech-saavy"

Great article by Siva Vaidhyanathan in today's issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Generational Myth: Not all young people are tech-saavy." Vaidhyanathan smartly challenges the notion of the "digital native," pointing out the racial and class biases that lurk behind any totalizing generational narrative. The article also contains a great survey of the literature on how young people interact with digital media. And some great lines:
We should drop our simplistic attachments to generations so we can generate an accurate and subtle account of the needs of young people — and all people, for that matter. A more responsible assessment would divorce itself from a pro- or anti-technology agenda and look at multiple causes for problems we note: state malfeasance or benign neglect of education, rampant consumerism in our culture, moral panics that lead us to scapegoat technology, and, yes, technology itself. Such work would reflect the fact that technologies do not emerge in a vacuum. They are subject to market forces, political ideologies, and policy incentives. More important, such work would not use young people as fodder for attacking wider social problems.
I can sign onto that.

1 comment:

Siva Vaidhyanathan said...

Thanks for the nice words!