21 Mar

As I sat watching the Frontline Documentary “Digital Nation” on my laptop, I simultaneously was on my Blackberry, texting my friends and checking my e-mail. To my surprise, I looked up to see the students in the video doing the exact same thing. I put down my Blackberry and began to listen a little closer as the specialist in the documentary talked about how those of us who consider ourselves “multi-taskers” are actually not as skilled as we might believe. In fact, while multi-tasking we are actually more distracted and retaining less information than if we were concentrating on a single task.

As natives of the digital era, we have come to be defined as the generation who knows a little about a lot. We scan the internet hopping from page to page, picking up little tidbits of information but never stopping long enough to read an entire article or focus in on one subject. And even worse, when some of us do dedicate our focus to one area of the web, it usually involves spending countless hours scanning social networking sites or playing video games. In Asia, where technology is engrained in the culture, there have even been reports of people dying of dehydration after spending days playing video games without stopping for food or water.

So how do we combat this innate drive to let our minds wander on the internet? Surely technology is not going away. Quite the opposite– it’s only going to get bigger and more expansive than ever before. In the near future there will be hardly be any jobs left that don’t require the knowledge of new media.

In the documentary, the South Koreans decided that the only way to handle this growing addiction to technology is not to ban it, but to teach children how to use it responsibly. In grade school classes all across South Korea, as students are learning how to read, they are also learning Internet etiquette, or “netiquette.” In these lessons, students are taught how to use technology responsibly for educational purposes. These type of classes are not only effective in combatting video game addictions and cyber bullying, but they acknowledge the importance of new media and the role that it will play in every child’s future.





4 Responses to ““Netiquette””

  1. Professor McDonnell March 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    I wonder how many of us started “watching” Digital Nation while multitasking, then realized we’re guilty of what it critiques? I know I did! Do you think netiquette lessons work?

    • chelsdanielle March 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      Its amazing how throughout the entire Frontline special, I was multitasking throughout, and when the part came up about how detrimental it is to how we express our thoughts and ideas I could not agree more. There have been so many times where multitasking interrupts a really good thought and it reflects a blog, an essay, or even a text. Its so interesting to see how in that particular aspect, we are our own worst enemies.

  2. itslikelleeuh March 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I actually did the exact same thing. Its weird to think that you’re basically like all those college students they showed on their lap tops in class because when you see it from an objective point of view it seems almost scary that it consumes us that much.

  3. acqueen2012 March 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I was multitasking when watching it too! I always thought that I was good at multitasking as well, but Frontline made me realize that often when I am texting someone while talking to someone else in person, I start to type what I am saying out loud into the text message. I think that we WANT to be good multi taskers, since we have so much going on and want to get it all done at the same time, but in reality, we really aren’t–we just like to think that we are (or at least I do). It’s funny that it took watching a program that told me people aren’t as good at multi tasking as we think we are to make me realize this!

    I agree with the South Korean method of teaching people HOW to use technology…it reminds me of something Henry Jenkins would say/promote!

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