The children of cyberspace: Old fogies by their 20s

Researchers theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change might be creating a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development, reports the New York Times. “People two, three, or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.” These mini-generation gaps are most visible in the communication and entertainment choices made by different age groups. According to a survey last year by Pew, teenagers are more likely to send instant messages than slightly older 20-somethings (68 percent versus 59 percent) and to play online games (78 percent versus 50 percent). Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has drawn a distinction between what he calls the Net Generation, born in the 1980s, and the iGeneration, born in the ’90s and this decade. Now in their 20s, those in the Net Generation, according to Rosen, spend two hours a day talking on the phone and still use eMail frequently. The iGeneration—conceivably their younger siblings—spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group, and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks. Rosen said the newest generations, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and they won’t have the patience for anything less…

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