Young & Hyperconnected

Some believe those growing up with 24/7 connections and the mobile Web will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers.

July 1, 2012
The hyperconnected lifestyle of today’s teens and young adults leaves technology experts evenly split about its long-term effect, according to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center study.

Some believe that those growing up with 24/7 connections to each other and the mobile Web will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers. Others predict the effect of networked living will drive these millenials to seek instant gratification, settle for quick choices, and grow more impatient. Specific reactions:

 The Internet environment itself will be full of data that users can retrieve almost effortlessly. “Quick-twitch” younger technology users will do well mastering these datastreams.

► Millenials’ brains are being rewired to adapt to the information-processing skills they’ll need to survive.

► “Supertaskers” can handle several complicated tasks well—and some surveys show it’s not just young adults capable of managing this successfully.

 Education reform will help learners maximize the best and minimize the worst. Educators should emphasize the skills of filtering, analyzing, and synthesizing information. Also of value is an appreciation for silence, focused contemplation, and “lessons in ignoring people,” as futurist Marcel Bullinga describes.

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