9780814409329

Generation Text

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780814409329

  • ISBN10:

    0814409326

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 7/23/2008
  • Publisher: Amacom Books

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Summary

Thanks to technological advances, children face a world markedly more complex--and distracting--than that of any other preceding generation. "Generation Text" examines why and how this phenomenon shapes children's values, and provides strategies for coping with these challenges.

Author Biography

Michael Osit (Morristown and Warren, NJ) is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with children and adolescents for more than three decades. He frequently presents seminars and workshops for mental health professionals, parents, and educators on issues such as parenting, child development, and communication. He and his wife have three children.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
The World at Their Feet-and Fingertips: Unfazed and Unimpressedp. 1
Who Am I and How Did I Get Here? Identity Formationp. 20
I Want It Now! Immediate Gratificationp. 58
Work Ethic: Play Now, Work Laterp. 83
Interpersonal Relationships: Friends, Family, and Strangersp. 102
Starting Early: The Generation Text Childp. 134
The Access and Excess Teenp. 166
Walking the Tightrope: Balancing Wants and Needsp. 199
How to Make Technology Work for Youp. 223
Integrating the Old and New: Regaining Controlp. 249
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

Excerpts

Chapter 1The World at Their Feet--and FingertipsUnfazed and UnimpressedA sixteen-year-old girl enters my office, proudly flaunting her new cell phone--probably the fourth or fifth new phone she's had since she started seeing me several years ago. She obviously wants me to notice the phone, so I congratulate her and ask what new features it has.She gives me a perplexed look. "What do you mean?"Trying to ask the question in a different way, I say, "What does it allow you to do?"She shrugs. "Everything."The fact of the matter is that the cell phone probably has three or four more features than her previous phone had. Beyond that, it has about thirty features she could have listed in answer to my question. But she has become so accustomed to the technology that she is unfazed by the color screen, caller ID, Web access, memory dial, still camera, video camera, and other features available to her on this tiny device. She takes these things for granted, automatically upgrading her phone whenever technology advances a half-step forward, whether she "needs" the new features or not.The seemingly constant stream of upgrades for cell phones and other high-tech devices certainly does not overwhelm kids living in the millennium. The problem is that as they are taking these changes in stride, their parents are left in the dust. As a result, a huge cultural divide is being created between parents and kids.Darwin's theory of evolution purports that as the environment changes animals create adaptations. This change process occurs over the course of thousands of years. Remarkably, kids today are regularly adapting to what I refer to as the Technological Evolution over short periods of mere months, while we as parents often remain confused, unsure of what are kids now know, and sometimes intimidated or resistant to the changing technology. Common tasks and activities routinely performed by our kids are alien to us. The ease with which our kids can communicate with each other, as well as with perfect strangers, enables them to maintain a private world that escapes parental awareness.The cell phone is a prime example of how easily kids adapt to the frequent changes in technology, how they use technology to suit their needs and desires, and, in turn, how technology is shaping their attitudes, behaviors, and values.In some ways cell phones and other technology devices facilitate friendships for the technologically astute child, but in other ways they hinder social-skill development. Kids have access to each other and the larger world to a much greater extent than they ever did before, but less effort is required for them to communicate. Cell phones, the Internet, e-mail, and instant messaging reduce human contact and yet, paradoxically, make people constantly available and endlessly distractible.As another teenage patient tells me, when a high school student wants to talk to a friend sitting on the other side of the school cafeteria, he may be more inclined to call or text the friend on his cell phone than to walk across the room. If he were to walk across the cafeteria to speak to his friend, he may encounter a teacher or another kid he doesn't want to talk to. When he approaches the friend, he may have to wait to speak with him so as not to interrupt a conversation. He then must establish eye contact, read nonverbal cues in the conversation, and react to body language.All of these rudimentary social skills are acquired with practice. In the past, social skills were practiced in the natural course of peer interactions. Today it's not uncommon for kids to spend more time relating to machines than to each other, making social skills more difficult to attain.

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