Wednesday, January 07, 2009

MiniBookExpo Review - Grown up Digital

A short while ago I started following a fascinating blog movement started by Alexa Clark, the genius behind the "Cheap Eats" series of books that profiles great restaurants in various cities (like Toronto and Ottawa) where you can get a decent meal without breaking your pocket book. It works this way. Books are offered out on the MiniBookExpo blog, bloggers claim them, get them, read them then post a review. Or, for full details, read the full rules here. The following is a review from a book I claimed:

Grown up Digital - by Don Tapscott

Following up on his book Growing up Digital from well over a decade ago, Tapscott returns to study the new generation, dubbed the Net Generation by the author. Based upon a multi-million dollar four year private research study, Tapscott provides an in-depth look into the routines, habits and challenges of this young generation.

This is a fascinating, eye-opening look at the Net Generation, and serves to contradict many blatant assumptions being made about today's youth. Tapscott deftly handles the claims that today's young people are a bunch of spoiled brats with limited attention spans who have had everything handed to them and have no scrupples by analysing facts and statistics and applying information from surveys with over 11,000 youth.

Including detailed statistics and charts as well as quotes and examples from real youth all over the world, Tapscott demonstrates a generation that is not only remarkably bright and skilled at thinking, interacting and socializing in entirely new ways, but that they are active participants in a complex and challenging world, that they are fine analysts and are concerned about basic integrity.

Tapscott not only goes through dynamic shifts brought about by this merger of youth and technology (with concepts such as education needing to change from a traditional "broadcast" style to a more interactive environment), but it outlines strategies and suggestions for how to properly embrace and understand the Net Generation.

This is a timely and well informed book that is easy to read and definitely pleasureable and eye-opening. Despite the hard data, charts and graphs, it is an approachable and fascinating read. The Net Generation is mobilized, skilled and connected in a way that no previous generation every possible could be -- they are changing the world and will continue to change it.

And though Tapscott has many positive responses to some of the "darker" sides of this new world the Net Generation are both navigating through and creating, he does offer cautionary details that youth and the older generations need to be clear about such as issues of privacy (that many are either not properly aware of and are giving up in the pursuit of high level/advanced networking), cyberbullying (often much more dangerous and "permanent" than bullying performed in school yards previous to the turn of the century) and a different look at defining "social skills."

I would highly recommend Grown up Digital to adults of all ages, particularly parents, as there are insightful suggestions on how to properly connect with and understand the Net Generation without being imposing and causing them more frustration. I would particularly suggest that those who have a negative view of the younger generation and their "technology endowed habits" pick it up and start looking at these details in a whole new light.


Anonymous said...

Great review! But I'm wondering what "scrupples" are... 8^)

Mark Leslie said...

LOL! Scrupples are just me not double checking my spelling for scruples. :)