The Digital Divide: Do you really think differently?

Zachariah James Watson

Prensky’s essay begins with how the modern generation has been socialized by modern technology. For instance, the average child and young adult spends over ten thousand hours playing video games, go through two hundred thousand e-mails and instant messages that are sent and received, ten thousand hours talking on digital cell phones, twenty thousand hours watching television, and witness five hundred thousand commercials before they even become old enough to leave for college. These are our modern digital natives.

Prensky then goes on to discuss what he calls “neuroplasticity.” According to recent research in neurobiology, there is no doubt that there are various types of changes that can drastically alter brain structure and the way people think as a result of allowing digital media to become part of daily life.

Prensky continues the essay by elaborating on the malleability of how the human brain has been altered by modern technology along with the average attention span. Particularly on how the average attention span has become considerably shorter.

Discussion Questions:

1) How much has the average mind of digital natives been altered by new media?

2) What are the benefits and downsides of how new media has affected the minds of digital natives and immigrants?

3) How does violent content in movies, TV, and video games affect the human brain in general?


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