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     Volume 6 Issue 29 | July 27, 2007 |

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Dealing with the D-Generation

Syeda Shamin Mortada

Technology is a buzzword when it comes to the D-generation. The digital generation is the one born in the world of pervasive digital technology. They perceive things differently, learn differently and deal with their life differently. Simply put, these digital natives are worlds apart from the digital immigrants who at some point later in life became fascinated or maybe out of sheer necessity had to adopt many of the aspects of the new technologies.

These digital natives spend less time reading but extensive hours on video games, computer games, TV, net, instant messages, chat and cell phones. All these modes of communication and information seem to have become an integral part of their lives. We are talking about a generation that has the ability to be able to be in touch with family, friends and the world at large. Some of the gadgets these youngsters use have transformed their environment not only at home but at school as well.

Call it a sign of the times but most of the kids today are like duck to water when it comes to using the new technologies. These digital natives seem to have diminished geographic boundaries and created a global community amongst themselves. The generation growing up right now is totally in command with unprecedented control over media. They can download songs, trailers and bits of films on their cell phones, watch You Tube videos, instant message friends, listen to music and play a game all at the same time.

Well, these youngsters are all turning into multitasking pundits, with the whole world at the very tips of their fingers. But should the parents be proud or stop to ponder on where this may take their kids? Will it have any social or psychological impacts on the D-generation?

With the kids busy multitasking and monitoring their various electronic gadgets, parents are finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate their universe. This is especially true where both the parents are working. At the end of the day when parents return home there seem to be no affinity between parents and children; the kids are absorbed in what they are doing and don't bother to give the parents the time of day. Even during mealtimes the family does not get a chance to reunite, as the kids are busy watching some popular music contest and conducting IM conversations all at once. Parents have started to worry that this extreme technologically dependent lifestyle has started to affect their kids' studies and family life. For many children education takes a back seat and many do not have any social life. After all these children hardly get any time to truly relax and reflect. Digital immigrants may find it hard to believe that it is possible to study while listening to hard rock or watching TV or even while chatting with a number of friends consecutively; but the digital natives just go about and do so without even batting an eyelid. Some of them even opine that doing all those things simultaneously actually help them to concentrate in studies.

Many maybe familiar with jargon like LOL (laughing out loud), BRB (Be Right Back), and G2G (Got to Go) which the kids use during instant messages or e-mails; but not many will be able to decipher codes such as PAW (Parents are Watching), MOS (Mom over Shoulder) or CD9 (Code 9) which they use to warn their chat friends for prying eyes of parents. These hyper kinetic minds often shock and astonish their parents with their technical prowess.

The digital natives are embracing the freedom and possibilities wrought by technology. Sure they have a lot to teach parents and teachers what new technology can do. But it is up to the digital immigrants to tell them what it cannot do and there is much more to life beyond that flickering screen.

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