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The Flaws of Generation-N Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Luke CB, United Kingdom Sep 3, 2003
Technology   Opinions


For years now, many social scientists and technology experts have looked forward to a new generation of society, one which is raised on computer and communications technology, one which instantly understands the technology and can get more out of it than any previous generations. Based on these predictions, the results forecasted would narrow the ‘digital divide’, create a more technology-literate populous and pave the way for a more integrated digital society. Admittedly, this sounds like a great way to go, something to look forward to even.

Now, the first signs of this generation are beginning to show; we have CEO’s of technology companies under the age of 20, according to a recent survey (Pew Internet Project) 74 percent of people in the United States aged 18 to 29 have internet access – compared to 52 percent of those aged 50 to 64. Many teenagers today are creating their own websites, or writing computer software – for fun and enterprise. But there is another side to this golden coin, and unless we tackle these issues head on there will be a wider ‘digital divide’ between those of us who are computer literate and those of us who are effectively left behind and relegated to the ‘old fashioned’ sections of society.

So what are the issues that society must tackle to create a more technology integrated society? First of all, current Information Technology education is not widespread enough to make a real impact. Learning ICT should not just be an option in schools, and not just saved for computer lessons; rather IT should be integrated in all parts of the curriculum. ICT education should involve real-world situations and applications including email, instant messenger communication (MSN, AIM & Yahoo etc.), web design, database design and various other areas. Secondly, children and young people should have free/cheap and easy access to computer equipment from a very early age. Many young people are quite able to gain very in-depth knowledge and skills just by spending time experimenting with computers; learning from practical experiments is by far a better form of learning than memorising what a teacher is saying. Thirdly, barriers such as language, social status and poverty should be bridged globally to ensure that everybody gains at least a working knowledge of Information Technology; if we are to move forward as a race, then we must embrace everyone into the fold. Dangers arise when part of society simply assumes that as people grow up with technology that they will be able to embrace it and create a more technology-integrated society. Dangers such as social exclusion and exclusive access to opportunities that we all deserve access to. So while society is being reshaped to welcome new technologies and pave the way for others, divides that currently exist are being widened, and new divides are beginning to appear. The Pew study, mentioned earlier, also found that only 23 percent of people who did not graduate from secondary education have internet access. The reliance on compulsory education as a vehicle for Information Technology learning must be removed, alternative sources of knowledge must be created – vehicles such as the internet and television should be utilised further to create a more accessible form of education. An example of this are so-called ‘Learning Portals’; websites that provide articles and courses for free or at a highly reduced price compared to traditional online courses. These would provide centralised learning tools that people can access anywhere that there is internet access; convenient access to educational materials is likely to raise young people’s interest in learning. They would also be accessible for use in schools and other places of education.

We must learn from history; all parts of society must be involved and encouraged to embrace new technology. But if somebody chooses not to embrace something to a certain extent, then that person must not be discriminated against and must have full access to all things that more technically-minded people have access to. Many parts of life today can be carried out online, from shopping to communications. Nowadays, it is cheaper to buy a plane ticket through the internet, because agency fees are lower and there is less human involvement. But for the person without a credit card, or without a computer for example – they can look forward to long telephone queues and higher prices. This is an example of where the coin drops in the information society; the less ‘wired’ person is inconvenienced due to the simple fact that he or she does not have the correct tools to get by at the cyber shopping centre.

We can use technology in ways that benefit us all and may even bring us closer together as a society.



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Luke CB

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We need too much information and more...
Jose Menacho Galiano | Nov 11th, 2003
That's a good point, but in some cases economical situation is drammatically different in undeveloped countries so If we really wants to enhance the information Society to less socio economicall areas of the world and the consecuently access of these people to up to date capacitation, knowledge and education we needs to provide the necessary hardware and technology to that areas finally our principals beneficiaries and potential costumers... Nice article, Good work Luke!

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