Monday, July 16, 2007

The Impact Of Growing Up In the Digital Age

Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet is a new book by Kathryn C. Montgomery. It comes out on July 31st and is available for pre-order on I've already ordered my copy and can't wait to read because I find the topic so fascinating. The Internet has been part of my life since I was ten years old dialing up to BBSs with my 2400bps modem and In my adult life I've been concerned with the impact that might have had, most notedly social, communal and even religious. The rules for socializing on the Internet are different than those in the real world. There is no law. There is no god. Boundaries only exist as defined by niche communities. It seems that disenfranchised young people (you know, the "weird" kids) might be more comfortable in front of their terminal than in the real world. If in their minds, the Internet is "Right" and the real world is "Wrong," think of the challenges that presents to society.

Review from
"Kathryn Montgomery brings clear thinking and empirical evidence to one of the most important and widely misunderstood issues of our time: how children and teenagers shape and are shaped by digital culture. Are 'digital natives' more or less engaged with civic matters? What are the effects of the commercial targeting of youth? How vulnerable are children to Internet pornography and online predators? What laws can protect both freedom of speech and the private lives of minors? Until now, many of the claims that advocates have made regarding these issues have been based on beliefs rather than evidence. Montgomery--a media scholar, activist, and mother--brings an encyclopedic and well-organized body of evidence to bear on a debate that has been confused by moral panics, uninformed analyses, and ideological agendas."
--Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

Book Description from
...The media have pictured the so-called "digital generation" in contradictory ways: as bold trailblazers and innocent victims, as active creators of digital culture and passive targets of digital marketing. This, says Montgomery, reflects our ambivalent attitude toward both youth and technology. She charts a confluence of historical trends that made children and teens a particularly valuable target market during the early commercialization of the Internet and describes the consumer-group advocacy campaign that led to a law to protect children's privacy on the Internet. Montgomery recounts--as a participant and as a media scholar--the highly publicized battles over indecency and pornography on the Internet. She shows how digital marketing taps into teenagers' developmental needs and how three public service campaigns--about sexuality, smoking, and political involvement--borrowed their techniques from commercial digital marketers. Not all of today's techno-savvy youth are politically disaffected; Generation Digital chronicles the ways that many have used the Internet as a political tool, mobilizing young voters in 2004 and waging battles with the music and media industries over control of cultural expression online.

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