December 22, 2008

“Net-Geners” [9:44 am]

Try to figure out how to pronounce that! From a review of Grown Up Digital: In ‘Grown Up Digital,’ the Virtues of the Millennials (pdf)

Mr. Tapscott is not uncritical of Net Geners. He reports, for example, that a whopping 77 percent of his survey sample acknowledged having downloaded music without paying for it. “Most don’t view it as stealing, or if they do, they justify it in different ways,” he writes. “They see the music industry as a big business that deserves what it gets, or they think the idea of owning music is over. Some even think they’re doing small bands a favor.”

Mr. Tapscott decries the widening educational gap between the “thriving” and “failing” segments of the Net generation. Although the percentage of young people enrolling in college rose sharply from 1970 to 2003, he says, huge numbers of American teenagers drop out before finishing high school, and the average 15-year-old ranks in the bottom third in math and the midpoint in science relative to peers in other developed countries.

Mr. Tapscott’s most severe criticism of Net Geners is that they are “undermining their future privacy” by giving away vast amounts of personal information along with potentially embarrassing photographs and videos over the Internet. “They tell us they don’t care, that it’s all about sharing,” he writes. “But here I must speak with the voice of experience. Someday that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office.”

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