Thus, the Google generation encompasses not only the young, but also the other generations. Which one creates the Google generation? The answer is technology. Since it is inherent in every area of life, the Google generation is impacted by it, which consists of changing their behaviors, affecting their critical thinking, swaying their reading habit, and making the children digital-age. The internet is currently considered an integral part of the society. It provides both advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, the information literacy of young people has not been improved with the widening access to technology (Rowlands et al. 95).
Further, Internet research shows that the speed of young people's web searching means that little time is spent in evaluating information, either for relevance, accuracy or authority (Rowlands et al. 295). This will make them more work-shy. In addition, young people have a poor understanding of their information needs and thus find it difficult to develop effective search strategies (Rowlands et al. 295). As a result, they exhibit a strong preference for expressing themselves in natural language rather than analyzing which key words might be more effective (Rowlands et al. 295).
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Moreover, young people have unsophisticated mental maps of what the internet is, often failing to appreciate that it is a collection of networked resources from different providers (Rowlands et al. 296). Consequently, the search engine, Yahoo or Google, becomes the primary brands that they associate with the internet (Rowlands et al. 296). Therefore, their ability of evaluating and searching information will principally count on the search tools, and their creativity will be restricted. In the other words, it can be considered a type of artificial literacy. When they receive information of a specific topic, they think that they understand it.
However, no one recognizes that information is extracted from technology, especially the internet, not from their authentic perceptions. “Critical thinking as an attitude is embedded in Western culture. There is a belief that argument is the way to finding truth,” observes Adrian West, research director at the Edward de Bono Foundation U. K. , and a former computer science lecturer at the University of Manchester (Greengard 18). Thereby, critical thinking is very crucial in speculating the information. If one loses that ability, he cannot perceive the entity of issues.
Unfortunately, currently rapid development of technology causes their thinking process to be passive. They are not able to think the way which was formerly. In contrast, their present thinking process may be called machinery sense. Greengard states about this issue: Although there is little debate that computer technology complements and often enhances the human mind in the quest to store information and process an ever-growing tangle of bits and bytes, there is increasing concern that the same technology is changing the way we approach complex problems and conundrums, and making it more difficult to really think (18).
Additionally, the wealth of communications and information can easily overwhelm our reasoning abilities (Greengard 18). Accordingly, Bugeja concludes “Without critical thinking, we create trivia” (Greengard 19). Seriously, it is time to take a closer and more serious look at technology and understand the subtleties of how it affects the thinking process. What’s more, their reading habit is one of technology’s considerable victims. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, literary reading declined 10 percentage points from 1982 to 2002 and the rate of decline is accelerating (Greengard 18).
That is an authentically alarming statistic. Along with a diversity of information on the internet, their reading habit has been lessened drastically. The reason is that previously, people only collected information through books, which are the chief source. They regularly read almost all pages of a book. Notwithstanding, the technology distraction level is accelerating to the point where thinking deeply is difficult (Greengard 18). They are overwhelmed by a constant barrage of devices and tasks, and increasingly suffer from the Google syndrome (Greengard 18).
People accept what they read and believe what they see online is fact when it is not (Greengard 18). Nicholas Carr, a journalist, told that it used to be easy to immerse himself in a book or a lengthy article. Nonetheless, the Net distracted his concentration on reading. He has to struggle against his reading habit that used to come naturally. For more than a decade now, he has been spending most of time online, searching, and surfing on the internet.
As a result, the Net seems to chip away his capacity for concentration and contemplation. It is not only Nicholas’s problem, but is ours as well. The authors of the study report say: It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense. (Carr, par. )
Also, he supposes that the Google generation comes to rely on computers to mediate their understanding of the world; it is their own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence (Carr, par. 36). At any rate, they are able to absorb the benefits of reading through the internet and keep the traditional habits because reading is learning and entertaining. The most striking example of the Google generation is the “digital-age” kids (O’Brien, par. 1). Why are they called “digital-age”? O’Brien has a 15-year-old son whose study is completely distracted by the technology.
She had to keep a deep eye on him whenever he took an exam. She says “Every time I crossed the threshold, the scene was the same: textbooks remained firmly closed in his bag while the laptop was open on his desk. On the screen was some history/ physics/English document, but also his Facebook and iTunes pages. In his ears were the iPod plugs, playing back a podcast. And sometimes, just to fracture his concentration even further, he might have had a half-played video running on YouTube as well” (O’Brien, par. 3 and 4). She was irritated to keep his son on concentrating.
From her problem, she concludes “He’s a digital native; you’re a digital immigrant” (O’Brien, par. 6). Digital natives and digital immigrants are terms named by the American futurist, Marc Prensky, to distinguish between those who have grown up with technology and those who have adapted to it (O’Brien, par. 7). According to researchers, the children are in the midst of a sea change in the way that they read and think (O’Brien, par. 8). They have wonderfully flexible minds. Further, they absorb information quickly, adapt to changes and are adept at culling from multiple sources.
But they are also suffering from internet-induced attention deficit disorder (O’Brien, par. 8). Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner- Centred Design at the London Knowledge Lab and a visiting professor at the University of Sussex, is working on a study examining the internet's impact on pupils' critical and meta-cognitive skills. “The worrying view coming through is that students are lacking in reflective awareness,” she says. “Technology makes it easy for them to collate information, but not to analyze and understand it” (O’Brien, par. ). In short, it is time the society should do something to improve the digital-age children. Therefore, the role of parents and teachers are constantly respected and highly valued, like Rose Luckin says: Because they have been using digital technology all their lives, our children feel they have authority over it.
But technology cannot teach them to reflect upon and evaluate the information they are gathering online. For that, the role of teachers and parents remains fundamentally important. (O’Brien, par. 2) Even though technology brings many various utilities to the civilization of the society, there are some issues on which are scouted out seriously. The Google generation ought to be aware of how to harness it. Do not let it affect the behavior, the ability of thinking critically, reading habit, and “digital-age” children. At any events, they should utilize the best benefits of technology to improve the life in a proper way. Keep in mind that technology can be a good servant, but it can be also a bad boss.