Last weeks blog, based on child-focused marketing, was a bit bleak especially for Christmas.
To balance out, there’s a feature in Design Week which showed this same age group wielding the power. In designing a touch-screen educational program for the Tate, Magnetic North creative director Brendan Dawes went to great pains to pander to a scrupulous audience with ‘attention spans of nil.’
Based on critical thinking, his frustration could be borne from differences in between generations rather than their age. Children of the latest generation might not have the same patience as adults but, from growing up with technology, are far more capable with technology than we were at their age. (I say ‘we’ because I can’t be the only one poor with a Wii, right?)
Theorist Durisin claims 98% of ‘Generation Yers’ (adolescents that have had developed with constant access to New Media) are positive that computers have positively impacted their lives. Generation X / those that matured before the internet became popular are far more reluctant to agree.
Echoed by Futurist Marc Prensky, members of Generation Y are ‘the digital native’ and those of Generation X ‘the digital immigrant.’ The latter might learn to ‘adapt’ to technology but always keep the mother tongue or ‘their “accent” […] their foot in the past.’
Prensky goes on to address the dangerous void between the two. The Native’s random-access learning style, acquired through digital interaction, alienates the Immigrant’s bookish teaching style (‘slowly, step-by-step, one thing at a time, individually, and above all, seriously.’) However, Durisin is more optimistic.
The Native’s confidence has bred complacency. Durisin’s test group failed to source breaking news online by relying on logarithms of search engines established weeks before. Also, Generation Y was less able to evaluate ‘spurious’ web content, searching for information and ‘simply applying criteria uncritically.’
Generation X and their experience with a wider variety of media may be more inclined to check other sources and, therefore, safeguard Generation Y from the unhealthy stakeholder relationships discussed last week.
However, let’s acknowledge our true responsibility as members of Gen X: to practice Guitar Hero religiously and show the kids how it’s done.