Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Web Secret #340: Generation Z

 Have you been to a restaurant lately?

You will notice that the majority of kids, (some as young as two,) are staring at a tablet or a smartphone. This allows their parents, and by extension me, to enjoy a quiet meal.

I, and many others,  flounder around anxiously, trying to figure out the impact of all this technology on the post Millenial cohort dubbed "Generation Z."

Allison Slater Tate has given this some thought, in her excellent Washington Post article, "Parenting as a Gen Xer: We’re the first generation of parents in the age of iEverything." She notes, rather poignantly, that hers is the last generation to enjoy a low-tech childhood, and the first to parent a truly high-tech generation.


Allison eloquently explains her dilemna:

"I am very much standing in the middle between my parents and my children when it comes to technology, one foot dipped in the waters of Instagram and Twitter and the other still stuck in the luddite mud... wins the prize for being the trickiest parenting challenge I have faced... in terms of the feelings of desperation and hopelessness it can inspire at times....

...resistance is futile: this is my children’s brave new world, and they need to know and understand all the internet highways and byways to live in it...The question of managing screen time and who is on what screen and how to protect those in front of the screens from things they might not un-see or un-hear is a constant, exhausting issue...

...we debate how old is old enough to have a smartphone. We make the children sit in public places when they are on devices or laptops, we look over shoulders, we check text message histories and set parental controls. We worry about their cyber footprints. We beg them not to send naked pictures of themselves to anyone...

...We wonder what a high-tech childhood will mean for our little people: will they know how to go on a first date without checking in on Facebook or posting a picture of their food on Instagram? Will it matter? generation of parents are pioneers here, like it or not. We’re the last of the Mohicans."

The last of the Mohicans. 

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