They're still kids, and although there's a lot thatthe experts don't yet know about them, one thingthey do agree on is that what kids use and expectfrom their world has changed rapidly. And it's allbecause of technology.
To the psychologists, sociologists, and generational and media experts who study them,their digital gear sets this new group apart, even from their tech-savvy (懂技术的) Millennialelders. They want to be constantly connected and available in a way even their older siblingsdon't quite get. These differences may appear slight, but they signal an all-encompassingsensibility that some say marks the dawning of a new generation.
The contrast between Millennials and this younger group was so evident to psychologistLarry Rosen of California State University that he has declared the birth of a new generation in anew book, Rewired: Understanding the ingeneration and the Way They Learn, out next month.Rosen says the tech-dominated life experience of those born since the early 1990s is sodifferent from the Millennials he wrote about in his 2007 book, Me, MySpace and I: Parenting theNet Generation, that they warrant the distinction of a new generation, which he has dubbedthe "ingeneration".
"The technology is the easiest way to see it, but it's also a mind-set, and the mind-set goeswith the little ‘i', which I'm talking to stand for 'individualized'," Rosen says. "Everything isdefined and individualized to ‘me'. My music choices are defined to ' me'. What I watch onTV any instant is defined to ‘me'. " He says the iGeneration includes today's teens and middle-school ers, but it's too soon to tell about elementary-school ages and younger.
Rosen says the iGeneration believes anything is possible. "If they can think of it, somebodyprobably has or will invent it," he says. "They expect innovation."
They have high expectations that whatever they want or can use "will be able to be tailoredto their own needs and wishes and desires."
Rosen says portability is key. They are inseparable from their wireless devices, which allowthem to text as well as talk, so they can be constantly connected-even in class, where cellphones are supposedly banned.
Many researchers are trying t6 determine whether technology somehow causes the brainsof young people to be wired differently. "They should be distracted and should perform morepoorly than they do," Rosen says. "But findings show teens survive distractions much betterthan we would predict by their age and their brain development. "
Because these kids are more immersed and at younger ages, Rosen says, the educationalsystem has to change significantly.
"The growth curve on the use of technology with children is exponential(指数的), and werun the risk of being out of step with this generation as far as how they learn and how theythink," Rosen says.