I have had this conversation with numerous people over the past few weeks: I know that my generation acted differently in school than our parents; our parent's parents also acted differently; on and on ad nauseum. But when I talk to and interact with the teenager of today I really wonder if the technological advances over the past 15 years have changed the dynamic of the world so much that this generation of teenager is more different to my peers and me than we were to our parents.
I am obviously focusing on a narrow view of the world: my experience and the experiences I have heard.
When I went to high school my parents were confused as to how I could dress the way I did - much more informally than they had. Moreover, they questioned how the use of technology would benefit me without becoming a distraction. That being said, I still think we focused well enough to figure out what we need to and got out well.
Now I am looking at this situation from the other side. I see students distracted during class not by passing notes (something fairly easy to catch) but by texting and playing computer games (something less easy to catch). I also see students getting into fights more readily and more easily than before because of the common use of social media on computers and smart phones. Everything is just easier and more distracting than ever before.
So, again, I wonder: is this simply a case of differences occurring in the same way they had before? Or, has technology advanced quicker than we can adapt to it? I find myself alternating viewpoints constantly - I am not sure. I think I lean towards believing these kids are setting themselves up for disaster with the constant misuse of digital devices (and the lack of awareness of how to use them well). But, then, I think back to how I viewed my parents and their interactions with me in relation to the same things and I turn back.
This may not be the most informative post but it is something important to consider.