Dumbed down

The troubling science of how technology is rewiring kids’ brains


Dumbed Down

For almost three decades, the Arrowsmith School, a small Toronto private school housed in a converted mansion on the edge of Forest Hill, has been treating kids with learning disabilities. When its founder, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, developed the school’s patented program in the late ’70s, it was with a first-hand knowledge of the frustration and stigma of living with cognitive deficits. Growing up, Young struggled with dyslexia. She had difficulties with problem-solving and visual and auditory memory. Finding connections between things and ideas was a challenge, and telling time was impossible—she couldn’t grasp the relationship between the big hand and the little hand. Traditional learning programs taught her tricks to compensate for her deficits, but they never improved her ability to think. “I walked around in a fog,” she says. But as a young psychology graduate, Young came across the brain maps created by the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, who studied soldiers who had suffered head wounds. Using these maps, she identified 19 unique learning dysfunctions and the brain regions that control them. Her theory was that a person can transform weak areas of the brain through repetitive and targeted cognitive exercises, and she was right. Today, this notion of brain plasticity—which she intuited three decades ago—is established wisdom in neuroscience.

Over the past decade, the Arrowsmith program has been proven so effective that schools throughout Canada and the U.S. have adopted it. In 2003, a report commissioned by the Toronto Catholic District School Board found that students’ rate of learning on specific tasks like math and reading comprehension increased by 1½ to three times.

These days, though, Young has noticed a new development: increasingly, she’s seeing a great many young people having difficulties with executive function, which involves thinking, problem-solving and task completion. “It looks like an attention deficit disorder,” she says. “The person has a job or a task and they start doing it but they can’t stay oriented to it. They get distracted and they can’t get reoriented. When I started using the programs, I really didn’t see a lot of this. I would say now, 50 per cent of students walking through the door have difficulty in that area.” The second thing she’s noticing is more frequent trouble with non-verbal thinking skills. These kids struggle to read facial expressions and body language—which can make dating and friendships, and indeed, most social situations, tricky.

Both of these skill sets relate to areas of the prefrontal cortex, or what Young calls “mental initiative.” It’s the area of the brain that drives us to go out and investigate the world, she says. When a person has deficits there, it’s hard to participate in the world. When they try, a wall comes up.

Young’s students face more extreme problems than the average teen, but her observations mirror what neurologists and educators are seeing in the general youth population—those in their 20s and younger, often called Digital Natives. The first to be born into and come of age in the digital age, they use their brains differently than any generation in history. At any given moment—or so the cliché goes—they’re wielding an iPod and a cellphone; they’re IMing a friend, downloading a Rihanna video from iTunes, and playing Resident Evil 4 with their thoughts. And that cartoonish caricature isn’t that far off: a study from the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation found that young people absorb an average of 8½ hours of digital and video sensory stimulation a day. By the age of 20, the average teen has probably spent more than 20,000 hours on the Web, and over 10,000 playing video games, according to Toronto-based business strategist Don Tapscott’s new book Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World.

The average youth brain is accustomed to a continuous bombardment of information bites. And in the process of navigating so much frenetic brain activity, kids are rewiring their brains, customizing them for speed and multi-tasking. But in reinforcing the neural pathways for these skills, some neuroscientists suspect they’ve been suppressing others—creating the very kinds of problems, albeit in a subtler form, teachers are seeing at the Arrowsmith School.

Every new technology—from books to television—has brought with it fears of a resulting mind-melt. The difference, in the case of digital technologies, says Dr. Gary Small, a renowned neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the unprecedented pace and rate of change. It is creating what he calls a “brain gap” between young and old, forged in a single generation. “Perhaps not since early man first discovered how to use a tool,” Small writes in his new book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, “has the human brain been affected so quickly and so dramatically.”

Earlier this year, Small and his colleagues devised an experiment to determine what the adult brain looks like on Google. Using fMRI imaging, they studied the brains of two types of computer users —“savvy” ones who’ve spent lots of time online, and “naive” ones who’ve spent virtually none—as they conducted simple Web searches. Among the savvy users, they observed plenty of activity in the dorsolateral area of the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with decision-making, integrating complex information and short-term memory. In the naive users this area of the brain was quiet. For five days, one hour a day, both groups repeated the simple exercise. On day five, the savvy group’s brain looked more or less the same. But in the naive group, something amazing had happened: as they searched, their circuitry sprang to life, flashing and thundering in exactly the same way it did in their tech-trained counterparts.

“Five hours on the Internet, and the naive subjects had already rewired their brains,” Small marvels. The experiment serves to highlight how quickly the brain can be trained. But while Digital Immigrants—those over 30, who came to the Web with brains fully formed—can acquire attributes of the New Brain, becoming quite proficient, the impact is limited because their early wiring was different.

Teenagers’ brains are much more vulnerable. There’s a reason we don’t let 14-year-olds vote or drive or drink vodka, and it goes beyond their apparent physical or emotional maturity. “Normal” adolescent cognitive development follows a certain arc. During the teen years, empathy skills (the amygdala region in the temporal lobe) and complex reasoning skills (the frontal lobe) are not yet fully developed. This is why, physiologically anyway, teens are predisposed to being self-centred, seeking instant gratification and not being able to always put themselves in others’ shoes—an attribute they develop over time, through social contact.

But brain scientists are speculating that too much technology may get in the way of normal frontal lobe development and stunt this maturation process—ultimately freezing them in teen brain mode. A controversial 2002 study out of Tokyo’s Nihon University found that the more time teens spend playing video games, the more they suppress key areas of the frontal lobe associated with learning, memory, emotion and impulse control. The study’s author, Dr. Akio Mori, a cranial nerve specialist, says chronic players—identified as those who play two to seven hours a day—can sometimes develop what he calls “video game brain,” a condition that essentially turns off the frontal lobes, even when kids aren’t gaming. In other words, because their brains are still maturing, an excessive amount of stimulation in one area can literally leave them lopsided.

And so the so-called brain gap is not just about intergenerational name-calling (although there is some of that going on, too). Instead, it’s about what the human brain of the future will look like—and whether or not we’re making good cognitive trades. “Are we developing a generation with underdeveloped frontal lobes—unable to learn, remember, feel, control impulses,” asks Small, “or will they develop new advanced skills that poise them for extraordinary experiences?”

In Grown Up Digital, one of several new books that explore this question, Tapscott takes the optimistic view. He sees young people using technology to develop ingenious and hyper-efficient new ways of finding, synthesizing and communicating information. New technologies present Digital Natives with “a giant opportunity,” Tapscott writes, “an opportunity to fulfill their intellectual potential and be the smartest generation ever.”

And if we understand intelligence as the ability to react quickly to visual stimuli, sift through large amounts of information, and decide, quickly, what’s useful and what isn’t, then he’s right; Digital Natives are miles ahead. Studies have shown that regular use of the Internet, video games and other digital technologies can even improve these cognitive abilities in adults. Groups from the military to laproscopic surgeons have turned to video game training to improve their peripheral vision and reaction time, and reduce error. Some brain scientists believe technological facility has contributed to the Flynn effect—the phenomenon that has seen young people’s IQ test scores climb steadily every decade since the Second World War.

But the important question we have to ask ourselves, according to Dr. Michael Merzenich, an international expert in brain plasticity and co-founder of San Francisco-based brain fitness company Posit Science, is this: if I’m spending lots of time doing these sorts of online activities, what am I not doing? Am I not reading a book (engaging the hippocampus, involved in learning and remembering)? Am I having fewer face-to-face interactions (engaging the area linked to empathy skills, the amygdala region)? “What are the cognitive tasks we’re ignoring?” he asks. “And what are the consequences of not doing those things?”

As techno-skeptics are quick to point out, among the great paradoxes of modern life is that people have more information at their fingertips than at any other time in history, and yet we’ve never known less. Examples of just how little the average person knows abound. Last year, Ipsos Reid and the Dominion Institute conducted a survey comparing what Canadians know now to what we knew in 1997. The results were dismal: 10 years ago, 72 per cent of us could name all four political parties then represented in Parliament. Last year, only 38 per cent could.

In The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein has compiled a host of such studies and reports to build his case that “kids today” are the dumbest ones ever despite a wealth of external resources. Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University, says that compared to previous generations of students, “they don’t know any more history or civics, economics or science, literature or current events. They read less on their own, both books and newspapers, and you would have to canvass a lot of college English instructors and employers before you found one who said that they compose better paragraphs.”

Does this matter? Or is it Old Brain thinking? In Grown Up Digital, Tapscott writes: “It’s not what you know that counts anymore; it’s what you can learn.” Until now, he says, “the educational model was to cram as much knowledge into your head as possible to build up your inventory of knowledge before you entered the world of work where you could retrieve that information when needed.” Now, information becomes obsolete quickly—and because it’s always retrievable at the click of a mouse, a well-educated person is not necessarily one who stores great amounts of knowledge, but rather one who knows where to find what he needs when he needs it.

The problem, Merzenich says, is that memory is a crucial part of learning. “It’s only when your memory is engaged in the learning process that your brain is really challenged,” he says. “It’s when I’m dealing with the details and really struggling with it that I learn it.” In other words, the more we depend on machines to do our thinking for us, the less we’re able to rely on our own mental resources. While we’ve always engaged in some forms of mental outsourcing—jotting down a grocery list so you don’t forget to buy milk, say—the extent to which we now depend on computers and other digital devices to find, store, analyze and communicate information for us is unprecedented.

The mental shortcuts the Web lets us take, in other words, aren’t always a good thing. A study of how we read online, conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting firm headquartered in California, found that only 16 per cent of subjects read text linearly online, word by word, sentence by sentence. Tracking their eye movement, Neilson found that users scan pages quickly, jump around, fixate on key words and phrases that interest them, and pass over the rest. In this sense, the Web promotes cut-and-paste learning. “It allows us on some level to be intellectually lazy,” Young says, “because that’s what’s out there on the Internet—other people’s information, pre-thought, pre-digested.”

All of this is why Bauerlein insists his English classes memorize poems. “The students groan,” he says, “but acquiring information means you store it in your mind. You think it through and you remember it. That’s a slow reading pattern, a slow analysis process.”

It’s a very different process from the one involved in mental multi-tasking—having five applications open on your computer, with a cellphone standing by. By necessity, our attention in this mode is shallow and diffuse. Small and others call it “continuous partial attention,” and it turns out to have costs of its own. “When paying partial continuous attention, people may place their brains in a heightened state of stress,” Small says. “They no longer have time to reflect, contemplate or make thoughtful decisions. They exist in a sense of constant crisis—on alert for a new contact or bit of exciting news or information at any moment.”

The brain isn’t built for this sort of protracted strain and eventually, over the course of hours, a condition sets in which Small calls “brain fog.” “Over time,” he says, “[it can] actually impair cognition, lead to depression, and alter the neural circuitry in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex—regions in the brain that control mood and thought. Chronic and prolonged techno-brain burnout, which we are all good candidates for, can even reshape the underlying brain structure.” Without the continual mental rewards that accompany interactivity, it becomes hard to hold the attention of someone with perpetual, low-grade brain strain.

Not surprisingly, one-third of Digital Natives, according to Small, use other media—particularly the Internet—to stave off boredom while they’re watching TV. Reading a book is even harder. “Why spend time staring at a dull and stagnant string of words,” he writes, “when they could be entertained and informed with fast-paced visual and auditory computer images instead?” In fact, Bauerlein believes it’s partly students’ discomfort with single-focus learning that’s created a generation of bibliophobes. In 2004, as director of research and analysis with the National Endowment of the Arts, he was involved in the report that found that leisure reading across all age groups had dropped significantly over 20 years in the U.S.; the biggest drop was among young people ages 18 to 24. In 2002, only 43 per cent voluntarily read anything outside of school, down from 60 per cent in 1982.

“They are entirely averse to books,” he says. “The percentage of them that read more than four books in a year on their own time—and this includes Harry Potter, romance novels, sports books, anything—it’s only 25 per cent. And 25 per cent of them don’t read any books. And these are the best kids, not the ones who don’t go to college or who drop out.”

Of course, this implies that previous generations were reading Dostoevsky in their free time and not watching Happy Days. But the point is not that Digital Immigrants necessarily read more Dostoevsky, it may be that more of them had the mental capacity to get through it if they so chose. Reading is something you need to practise doing, and Bauerlein says Digital Natives simply don’t get enough practise slogging their way through difficult texts, particularly as more technology is integrated into classroom learning. “It’s a big modern problem,” says Merzenich. “Getting through an actual book requires a certain level of persistence. It’s a long-term attention to something in which the rewards are maybe not coming every two seconds.”

This is true of writing, too. James Côté, a professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario and co-author of Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis, argues that the university essay is barely worth assigning anymore—even though the investigative skills and in-depth critical thinking skills it teaches are as relevant as ever. Students just can’t do it, he says—their language skills are depleted, they are indiscriminate with source information, they have a hard time focusing on things for too long, and they don’t particularly care to improve. As a teacher, it’s demoralizing. “In the old technique of assigning the essay, the student would pick the topic, they would go to the library to research it to determine if it’s a topic you can actually write something about,” he says. “Now most students can’t pick a topic. If you tell them what to do—okay, here’s a selection of three topics, pick one—they can do it, but on their own, most cannot come up with a topic that they can write meaningfully about.”

Technophiles say what we’re losing in memory we’re gaining in productivity. Every time we don’t have to memorize a phone number or take a trip to the library to research, we’re freeing up our brains for other tasks. But what other tasks? And are we even doing them? Studies tell us multi-tasking itself is a myth. We expend valuable time and energy transitioning from one interface to another. A recent study of Microsoft employees found that each time they responded to an email or instant message, it took them 15 minutes to return to the work they were doing.

All of the things that technology was supposed to make us better at—communicating, understanding, doing many things at once—we’re doing worse. Even though Google will always be there to provide us with answers in a pinch, Merzenich says, “I still have to believe that the invention, the creativity, these fabulous human assets, are absolutely dependent upon having rich resources and content in our very own brains.” The alternative would be to argue that we don’t need to be intelligent anymore because we’ve got machines. “Is that what we want?” he asks. “Is our goal to create a brainless society?”


Dumbed down

  1. My niche is visual dyslexia so I try to keep up with brain research as it pertains to different aspects of learning and life and of course dyslexia.

    As per your discussion, sort of, I tend to believe some creative research that studied infants long term and found a correlation between hours of television watched and autism. Increased time watching TV increased the degree of autism.

    The proposed mechanism was indeed brain structure changes induced by the increased rate of information and topic change exposed to from TV and as compared to the slower normal baby talk of mother child communication.

    Another study relevant to dyslexia, at least in my mind as no one else has published this, was investigating why elders seemed to make wiser decisions. The conclusion was as we age brain connections tend to fail and mental processes were forced to take longer paths where other relevant facts were considered V’s the faster decisions of youth that were processed in a more straight lined manner without involving other not closely related information.

    While not being a fan of the “dyslexia is a gift” model as I don’t think that most dyslexics experience the benefit of the gift, I did think that the mechanism in the age & wisdom study might indeed be similar to the idea that some dyslexics think outside the box.

    In some cases I suspect that the result of having a different brain structure may result in more non linear thinking where other factors become involved in making both wiser or out of the box conclusions.

    Personally I am not impressed with the idea that the brain is plastic and can be rewired. That was always true and the fact that learning changes the brain as new connections are made was always implied by learning tasks that become second nature to the person.

    The brain of the novice playing outfield is certainly different from the same experienced player. Learning and rewiring the brain are the same thing. People who suggest that they are involved in rewiring the dyslexics brain are doing no more than at best focused teaching.

  2. In Grown Up Digital, Tapscott writes: “It’s not what you know that counts anymore; it’s what you can learn.” Until now, he says, “the educational model was to cram as much knowledge into your head as possible to build up your inventory of knowledge before you entered the world of work where you could retrieve that information when needed.” Now, information becomes obsolete quickly—and because it’s always retrievable at the click of a mouse, a well-educated person is not necessarily one who stores great amounts of knowledge, but rather one who knows where to find what he needs when he needs it.

    Stopped reading here. Figures the business guru and technocrat Don Tapscott won’t/can’t distinguish between knowledge and information. Information is data in context and knowledge is the appreciation of the consequences when information has been applied, which is gained through experience and is related to wisdom.

    And that is what concerns me about this “digitial generation.” Information without wisdom is a very dangerous thing.

  3. Information is very valuable and students are being taught now more then ever to use their judgement to sift through information to see what is valuable and what is not. Students with high IQ’s are smarter then they have ever been before, but students with disabilities are still struggling to read as no breakthroughs have been made to help them with the printed page ie. letters and words becoming information to them. The breakthrough has come from other forms of media to get their info, in audio and pictorial that was never availble to them before the touch of google.

  4. Interesting that whether you agree with the pessimists or the optimists (and I heard Don Tapscott being interviewed on CBC Halifax the other day – he’s very interested in getting high profile consulting jobs as opposed to debating the issues) you get a deeper sense of how McLuhan was right. We shape our tools and they shape us.

  5. @janet Waring,

    I couldn’t agree with you more…and, moreover, what exactly happens if the entire Eastern Seaboard suffers yet another one of those extended blackouts as we had around five years ago during the summer…and — horror of horrors — someone is required to speed read through an old paper-bound manual which weighs about a kilo in a matter of minutes, in order to save the world — or something similarly vital.

    I know, I know — the stuff of screenplay fantasy and claptrap-y…but still, it’s not such a far-fetched scenario, given the findings of this piece. No?

    Well done.

  6. ‘We shape our tools and they shape us.’

    Perhaps it’s not simply a matter of how information is explored and adopted, but how young adults use the information they gain online, and how the digital resources they use shape that interaction. They are often treated as an audience to be directed by content providers and online edutainment facilitators.

    The problem with much of the interaction that occurs online is that its use is limited by the provider. There are of course numerous cases where the intended use of an online resource is surprisingly reshaped by its users. For the most part however, Myspace users for example, use the website as its producers intend it to be used, they shape the interaction. Similarly with video games, they often sport linear narratives that offer only limited creative exploration.

    Young adults need to be encouraged to engage in more unfettered, creative exploration of the information that is available to them. Only then will they be more likely to engage with and learn from what they find.

    In my experience, helping young adults use online tools to explore their creativity, the results are encouraging. I work with young adults to write stories using web tools that are often intended for quite a different purpose. (writing stories online using online mind maps for example – http://www.thedigitalnarrative.com/teachign%20method%20lessons/bubblus.htm)

    Students in my experience, become driven, determined, fascinated when they see that they can go beyond the perceived boundaries of their experience online… and blend real world experience with online experience in interesting and exciting ways.

    Most importantly, nothing inspires empathy in these young adults more than creating real, vivid characters and using them to tell their stories.

    Martin Jorgensen


  7. I find it paradoxical that as more young people become ‘bibliophobes’ they are graduating from universities, high schools and colleges in ever greater numbers. My university degrees are absolutely useless, largely because the guy sitting next to me refused to read but received a degree.
    Moreover, I’ve taught high school History for 6 years and the only thing this generation is interested in is technology. To complicate matters, we aren’t allowed to confiscate their toys, apply late marks or speak to them without positive reinforcement. Public schools, from k to 4th year university, are nothing more than baby-sitting centres where narcissistic parents threaten, and attempt, to character assassinate anyone who criticizes their self-indulgent and mediocre children.
    Don’t worry Canada: the Chinese and Indians will solve our education problem for us. Remember, their kids want to work and they don’t use psychiatrists to make excuses.

  8. As a man in my 30s, I totally agree with this article, as even I find that my brain has changed since the time I left university. Now with audio visual mediums at hand (TV and internet), I feel that I have trouble concentrating while reading. In fact, I hardly get time for reading a printed material. Most of my reading is on net, where I follow the “cut and paste” method as described in article. I do not play video games, but even being online most of the day and watching TV in evening has effectively altered my brain in a negative way. Maybe it is time I take a break from digital world and return to printed material just to bring the brain to its original efficiency

  9. Education continues to slide. In Ontario parents are denied true transparency, alignment and accountability. We get the impression that learning via direct teaching is some type of taboo. Fair enough, but the other methodologies, such as constructivism, seem to do little better when it comes to developing a certain skill.

    In some parts of the province the very thought of using a drill sheet or assigning memory work or developing any sense of specificity, is out of the question. Yet, in the book, The Brain that Changes itself, it’s revealed that memory work actually develops the part of the brain which is responsible for reading.

    Regrettably Ontarians are locked in an archaic system where school choice is in the true sense of the term, is viewed as anathema to the greater value of developing a common socialist mind set. Perhaps after 120 years of totalitarian style top down education, a liberating wind will blow through and allow for charter schools to provide authentic alternatives to the state run factory schools which have for far too long been guided by educational nincompoops.

  10. In his book: “Train your Brain” by Dr. Ryuta Kawashima he states: “Monotonous work like adding single digit figures makes the brain work harder than a fun activity like playing a video game.” His research involves scanning peoples brains while they’re doing various mental activities.

    Fortunately he was able to convince Nintendo to produce mental activity software and thus was born: Brain Age 1 & 2 programs for the Nintendo Lite. I have them both and try to do some activities once a day; I’m 76.

    My interest in the subject of neuro-plasticity was triggered by the Brain Fitness program on PBS as I have a 16 year-old, mentally challenged granddaughter.

  11. ADHD is probably a survival trait. People live in societies so we can share our skills and make the most of our individual contributions without dying because of our weaknesses. The problem with health and education is that individualism has become pathology, and teachers are too overwrought to deal with “outlier” kids who need extra attention.

    Maybe its our institutions that need to change to keep up with society. Drugging kids and making parents feel like failures is not the answer.

    My son is doing mathematical exercises at ten years old that I couldn’t imagine doing until I was in my late teens, but his teachers haven’t got a clue about his interests. Instead of looking at information technology as a threat, I share it with my kids. I encourage them to play video games and to treat the machine as the flexible and malleable device that it is, rather than as a fragile expensive appliance.

    I meet so many parents who are continually wringing their hands about whether their kids are at the “right level” in school. The run their poor children through batteries of psychological tests that signify nothing other than some arbitrary statistical correlation that showed up in the doctoral thesis of some important doctor. Please let the kids be kids. They will learn because they love to learn, not because we make the efforts to teach them.

  12. I agree with this blog in most respects. However, as someone who took a class under James Cote, I can say that he is more lecturer than teacher! His distain for students post-netscape can be felt in his comments… the reality is that the digital generation is merely a product of previous generations’ technical advancements.

    Too many teachers–or dare I say the Digital Immigrants– throw their hands up in exasperation over this new generation and their incapacities.

    Instead of crying out into the digital darkness, maybe we should be questioning our methods for teaching and honing the technical skills of this next generation.

    Thomas Friedman in his new book refers to the Baby Boomers as the “greatest generation” and there may be weight to that– i am certainly impressed with my parents. Yet, the “digital natives” have potential… don’t give up on us that easily!

  13. I am a grade 12 student in Aurora and I just wanted to say I fully agree with Miss. Young’s article. I see this issue all the time in my applied english class. Teenagers dont know how to read for more than 20 minute. Also teenagers today have no idea about the what is going on in the world around them.

  14. What a great article. It was interesting how George tried to present both sides of the argument, but I think the con discussion focused primarily around web 1.0 functionality, and many of the studies done assessed students who are products of that kind of usage, as well as measured outcomes from the bygone modernist era. I like the post that suggested “…the reality is that the digital generation is merely a product of previous generations’ technical advancements.” I would be very interested to see how the much more collaborative, interactive Web 2.0 (developed predominantly by my generation) with its understanding of digital literacy will shape the learning and brain structure of our youngest generation.

  15. Wow – that seems very interesting, but I just don’t have the time to read it all, so I will save a copy to my hard drive and get to it another time. – Does this mean Im an example of what the article is talking about?

  16. I agree with the problems of new technologies only to a certain extent. Being the age of 17 myself. I know how much games can impact my concentration. Another example is when I should be memorizing important tidbits of information in my classes (english, chemistry, etc.) I am busy text messaging my friends or even reading my emails. In fact I am posting this comment all from my phone. What I don’t agree with is when certain adults target technology alone instead of looking deeper into the minds of youth itself. I can truly say that technology will only affect my learning if I choose so. It is the student’s own motivation to learn that counts.

  17. Change is scary.

    This is the way it is though. And how amazing that the human brain has changed so quickly and adapted to these new demands.

    I have a son who when he was just 12 was a website designer. His screen persona was a cool 25 year old dude… He’s still a website designer at 18. He has his TV on continuously with his MP3 player docked and playing music, designing a website or two at the same time, doing his homework and IM’ing with his friends. He’s also polite, decently behaved, loves paintball, longboarding, running, dodgeball and all ballgames and he’s a beautiful son. He has 5 close friends who all fit a similar description and I love them all.

    I have another son who coaches hockey for not one but two teams of 8 year olds… I was watching him the other day… Skating backwards during a game, instructing two kids on different parts of the ice, answering his phone calmly? and picking up something that was dropped down on to the ice by mistake and giving it back with a smile… All at the same time.

    One has ADD and one has mild autism. Both have been able to take their talents and run with them. They had their learning difficulties before the techno age got a hold of them – they grew up on a farm… Maybe when you take a person with a learning disability and instead of trying to ‘sit’ on them, you allow them to ‘run’, this is what happens? Maybe there are more kids like this because we are identifying more? Maybe they’re more ‘extreme’ because they’ve been allowed to fulfill themselves?

    My oldest son still reads quietly for hours – in between bursts of activity on his Blackberry.

    I think they’re amazing. Incredible. I struggle to do more than one thing at a time – let alone speak calmly on the phone or smile.

    Maybe just that we’re all good at different things?

    Nothing more?

    Maybe it’s all OK?


    • Julie – your children are very lucky – they have the ultimate support system with understanding and the ability to encourage them to ‘run’ – well done by all and I am sure it will continue. I wish all children were so lucky – unfortunately so many children do not have a strong support system, in fact, the reverse and numerous negativity to blunder through during their school years. Again, I do believe ‘we’ get lost in generalizations and focus on the minority because there are definitely wonderful children who are I daresay are going to be very successful no matter what ‘we’ put in their way.

  18. I am glad that someone is finally drawing attention to the dumbing down of this generation. Wherever I go — banks, government agencies, etc. — I encounter almost nothing but morons these days. No one seems to be able to handle even the simplest tasks anymore without having a total brain shutdown.

    People don’t and can’t read anymore, they are relying on computers to remember things for them, etc. — this is one sure way to destroy an entire civilization. From the first day I entered school, I said to myself, “If you take notes and rely on a piece of paper to do the remembering for you, it’ll never stick in your brain. Only if you entrust the information to your brain right away do you have a chance of remembering it all.”

  19. From the article: “Last year, Ipsos Reid and the Dominion Institute conducted a survey comparing what Canadians know now to what we knew in 1997. The results were dismal: 10 years ago, 72 per cent of us could name ***all four political parties then represented**** in Parliament. Last year, only 38 per cent could.”

    Actually, there were 5 political parties represented in Parliament in 1997: Liberals, PCs, Alliance, NDP, and BQ. Could the dumbing down of Canada have spread to the writers and editors of our most august news weekly?

  20. While this article makes quite a bit of sense, the biggest problem seems to be laziness. I am 21, have always played video games, watched tv, IMed, and had access to information whenever I want it. But I still take the time to read. I still force myself to recall something when I could easily look it up. I certainly can’t recite poetry or remember all the nation’s presidents, but I believe I’ve still got quite a handle on my own memory functions and motivation for real learning. I don’t think my generation really deserves yet another excuse for our behavior, we choose to live exactly the life we want.
    If I were to offer one thing, however, it would be to take a long hard look at our education system. I had brilliant parents and great schools, but for most of my generation, school stopped being about understanding and started being about results and quick passage through. If overzealous parents, overworked schools, and government funding allowed room for creativity, engaging, fun learning experiences, and demanded of their students real thought, this generation could really do something great. Unfortunately, knowledge isn’t fun anymore, inquisitiveness is punished. The digital realm provides fun and avenues for exploration. It’s time school did that as well, so that more young adults start to care enough to even read this article.

  21. Kona is right on in his interpretation.
    As a past classroom teacher, I realized years ago that education was being reduced to little more than an expensive baby-sitting service and diluted to the lowest common factor so that everyone could be ‘successful’.
    I’m ashamed that I spent most of my working life seemingly supporting such intellectual undermining, somehow believing the problems were so obvious that things would have to get better. I no longer believe this as the infiltration of the socialists’ believe in society that all can succeed and become the best without either ability or effort seems to have propagated and infected/affected an entire generation, with more to come.
    Simply denying or disallowing survival of the fittest can only lead to our downfall. Sure, TV and high-tech games contribute to the demise of young brains but we must remember that they are simply tools which are being misused. For parents who do not wish to sacrifice time and resources to spend quality time with their families are quick to point out that our schools should be taking over their parental duties and therefore, when children are not in school, TV, the Internet, video games, cell phones, etc. become surrogate parents. And we are surprised at the failure?
    Only when we take the responsibility for our own actions, realize that no two people are equal, pay our own way, and realize that absolutely no one has the right to the resources of others, will we again be able to evolve forward.
    Similar to the electronic calculator when first introduced; it made a great tool for the educated but soon become abused by naive educators who believed calculators should be introduced to children as soon as they could press a button. Now we wonder why our young society can’t determine a 25% discount on a ten dollar item (my years teaching math showed this to be true in a majority of our senior students). Now schools are suggesting that proper grammar, handwriting, spelling, etc. may no longer be of use!
    We shouldn’t need extensive or expensive studies to tell us that our young people are dumber than previous generations; we just have to look at what we’ve been teaching them.

  22. I agree completely with Dale Mullen. Just witnessing how far things have fallen since I graduated from high school 15 years ago is alarming and disturbing. His example of the 25% discount is not an isolated incident with a poor (relative term) student. My father is a field instructor for survey technicians. One of his students simply could not subtract 19 from 27 without a calculator. It took him four “guesses”. Yet, this person was somehow able to pass high school math and must have been told he had some aptitude for numbers if he pursued a career in surveying. He is not far from the typical student. My wife teaches several courses at a business college, and the majority of her students demonstrate a level of numeracy and literacy that would have been unacceptable in a Grade 6 student of a generation ago.

    One thing I would dearly love to know, is which indicators are being used to justify the implementation and retention of the current suite of curricula and teaching methods? By every single measure, other than their proficiency with computers, today’s young people perform MUCH poorer than previous generations. Where is the accountability when someone is given a high school diploma without being able to perform routine arithmetic or write in complete sentences with acceptable spelling, grammar and punctuation? Why aren’t the concerned parents making more of a fuss?

    There are lots of contributing factors to the current situation, but we are naive to think it just “happened”. Google “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” if you want a real eye-opener.

  23. This article highlights the concerns that many teachers share about the positive and negative impacts of technology on learning. The web and computers are fabulous tools for society and educators, but they are tools, not substitutes for deep, reasoned thought. Tapscott, in Grown Up Digital, sees technology as developing “new ways of finding, synthesizing and communicating information.” Finding, yes, new ways of communicating, probably, but synthesizing – no! – and that is not from lack of trying by me or my fellow teachers. Intelligence is not simply regurgitation of facts. Intelligence involves not only finding information, but also the ability to analyze, synthesize, hypothesize and apply knowledge. Many students in this generation have difficulty classifying information, making inferences, summarizing and, especially, synthesizing ideas into a cohesive whole. To do this requires attentive interaction and reflection – which is the antithesis of the “continuous partial attention” we see everyday in our classrooms.

  24. Does growing up digital make you dumb, as the critics suggest?

    Our research suggests that’s not the case.

    Let’s look at the facts.

    The critics’ argument is that kids are spending so much time in front of a screen that they forfeit the ability to think deeply or creatively – and may even develop a digital version of Attention Deficit Disorder.

    But the critics forget that these young people are spending far less time zoning out in front of the TV as their parents did. As I explain in my new book, Grown Up Digital, the typical boomer grew up watching more than 22 hours of TV a week.

    They just watched, zoned out.

    The Net Generation – my name for the generation age 11 to 31 who have grown up digital — watch less TV and when they do, they treat it as background Muzak while they hunt for information, play games, and chat with friends online.

    They’ve been conditioned to expect a two-way conversation – not a lecture from Professor Bauerlein or anyone else.

    They’ve grown up to be active hunters for information, which naturally leads them to the vast resources of the Internet. This is where they’re reading, and online reading requires many of the same mental skills that are required to read a book-and then some.

    You are not led along every step of the way by the hand; you have to construct your own narrative and scenarios, and you must critique whatever it is you are reading along the way. You have to be able to keep the question in mind and not get distracted by all the interesting factoids out there. What’s more, you’re reading and writing as you go. That’s why some people call Web 2.0 the “read-write Web.” It’s challenging. This is why experts are talking about a new literacy that may be even more intellectually demanding than the old one.

    Because the Internet gives young people a world of information at their fingertips, they have to struggle to understand and synthesize. It can be a great intellectual exercise. And yes, they do multitask, and switch from one stream of information to the next, with an ease that surprises their parents. Of course, they need to focus deeply to accomplish a complex task, but the rest of the time, they’re developing multitasking skills that are very useful, even essential, in the modern digital world.

    So is there any evidence that the Internet is making kids “the dumbest generation,” as Prof. Bauerlein contends?

    If anything, test scores suggest the opposite.

    In the United States, average test scores have been improving in most subjects- especially in math. What’s more, the Net Generation is poised to become the most educated generation of Americans ever. The percentage of young people enrolling in college rose 50 percent from 1970 to 2003, while the percentage of 25- to 29-year-old Americans with a college degree doubled.

    This isn’t the dumbest generation. It may be shaping up to be the smartest.

  25. Interesting article with conclusions similar to those reached in “School and the Reading Brain”, a piece I recently wrote for “Education Forum” magazine, published by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. A virtual copy of the article can be found at:


  26. Let’s look at the facts.

    I would if there were any provided. Undocumented assertions aren’t necessarily facts. And I’m highly skeptical of test scores, particular those coming out the US, where there has been enormous pressure to to get those results up and to simply teach to the test.

  27. Honestly… Why are you people blaming technology, when the only problem is horrible parenting. Most parents (both in Canada and the States, but especially in the States) couldn`t care less about the situation. Take me, for example. I`m 14, and a “Digital Native”. However, I regularly read thick books about weighty topics such as philosophy and criticisms of aspects of modern culture. The fact that I took the time to read this article COMPLETELY AND THOROUGHLY says much. And yet I play video games, on weekends, for 12 hours straight, with quick breaks for the washroom and snacks. Shouldn’t I rank as one of the dumbest kids in my area? Quite the opposite. I’ve been identified as “gifted” by two different school boards (and these tests were sponsored by the boards, not my parents). The reason for all this? My parents. People of the “Digital Immigrant” generation are too quick to blame technology for all their problems. The real root of the problem is poor parenting. A quick head count of almost any public school in Canada (or the US) would reveal that about 75% of students have parents who couldn’t care less or who haven’t fostered an interest in knowledge and learning. Because THAT is the only thing that can motivate a child (or teenager) to learn. If they are taught early to love learning things and to be inquisitive, then they will succeed. Those who aren’t taught these things, not through school, but rather their parents, will always succeed. School is for teaching hard facts, not attitudes and opinions, and parents have begun to rely on it to do just that. Test scores are not an indication of intelligence, but rather motivation and attitude towards education.

    However, I am not advocating forcing your children to read before they can even walk. Just encourage them slowly in the right direction. Don’t bribe them to read, but rather foster an interest. Instead of sports lessons or television time, leave them with a good book instead. An athlete doesn’t contribute much to society, but a well-read and well-educated person can do just about anything.

    And here I come to my next point: Education. Simply force-feeding facts to students like in old-style education doesn’t work anymore. The American No Child Left Behind Act proved that excessive numbers of standardized tests and the “teaching to the test” that results don’t work. What we need is individualized education, where a student is given the right amount of homework based on his/her own needs and abilities, and is allowed to proceed at their own pace. In my case, I was placed in a special program with about 30 other students identified as “gifted”, and I really enjoyed that. The program had less rote memorization of facts, and more creative assignments that allowed students to develop their strengths and weaknesses while pursuing their own interests. As an example, I offer an assignment we did during Grade 8. In order to study area, perimeter, volume, etc a bit better, we were assigned the task of constructing three-dimensional models of buildings we were allowed to design, as well as creating an accompanying write-up detailing the calculations (this was a math assignment). In Grade 7, we did something similar. We were put into groups of 4, and charged to build model houses of whatever materials the teacher provided and that we could find. During this project, there was a lot of measuring, calculating area/perimeter/volume/etc, and, most of all, teamwork. Let’s face it: Baby boomer-type education is out-of-date.

    In summary, blaming technology achieves nothing. It is modern attitudes towards parenting and education that are to blame. In studying and revising these, we will find the answers to all of our problems.

  28. I made a small typo here: “Those who aren’t taught these things, not through school, but rather their parents, will always succeed.”

    I meant to say: Those who ARE taught these things, not through school, but rather their parents, will always succeed.

    Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

  29. This discussion reminded me of the Stephen Johnson book of 2005, “Everything Bad is Good for You”. One section was a story that speculated about the reaction of parents, teachers and cultural authorities in a situation where video games were a part of culture before reading. He describes the reaction.

    “Reading books chronically under-stimulates the senses. Unlike the longstanding tradition of game-playing- which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical sound-scapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements-books are simply a barren string of words on the page. Only a small portion of the brain devoted to processing written language is activated during reading, while games engage the full range of the sensory and motor cortices.

    Books are also tragically isolating. While games for many years engaged the young in complex social relationships with their peers, building and exploring worlds together, books force the child to sequester him or herself in a quiet space, shut off from interaction with other children. These new “libraries” that have arisen in recent years to facilitate reading activities are a frightening sight: dozens of young children, normally so vivacious and socially interactive, sitting alone in cubicles reading silently, oblivious to their peers.

    Many children enjoy reading books, of course, and no doubt some of the flights of fancy conveyed by reading have their escapist merits. But for a sizable percentage of the population, books are downright discriminatory. The reading craze of recent years cruelly taunts the 10 million Americans who suffer from dyslexia-a condition that didn’t even exist until printed text came along to stigmatize its sufferers.

    But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can’t control the narratives in any fashion- you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you. For those raised on interactive narratives, this property may seem astonishing. Why would anyone want to embark on an adventure utterly choreographed by another person? But today’s generation embarks on such adventures millions of times a day. This risks instilling a general passivity in our children, making them feel as though they are powerless to change their circumstances. Reading is not an active participatory process; it’s a submissive one. The book readers of the younger generation are learning to “follow the plot” instead of learning to lead.”

  30. As a teacher, I’ve had my suspicions regarding this subject matter and the research you’ve provided really helps me to understand better however, my young sons need to be similarly informed and we’ve not been able to find material to wean them from all of the video enticements. Any suggestions out there?

  31. Hmmm… Try to find something your sons would WANT to read. If they are into shooting games, get them some war novels. If they like historical or role-playing games (the latter of which generally take place in the past anyway), find them something along those lines. The whole idea is not to replace books and literacy with computers, but rather to supplement them. Besides, a computer has its bugs: Books are much hardier. You can do an enormous amount of damage to a book and still be able to read it. A computer, not so much. I swear, every time my sister invites her friends over I have to put up blast shields to prevent them from damaging my machine. Books can’t get viruses, or suddenly be disconnected from the information stored within them. Computers are vulnerable to viruses, and disconnection. As I stated earlier, the idea is not to supplant books, but rather to supplement them.

    But that’s not all. To truly get your sons to read, you must interest them in learning. For there are more than just fiction books (although ggatin would have you believe otherwise). My parents interested me in reading and education long before I started attending school (I never even went to preschool), and look at me now. In fact, I am currently reading a book about American capitalism during the late 19th century. All of this is in direct contravention to the writings of the good Mrs (or Ms, I’m not sure) George. For, you must remember from my earlier post, I spend an inordinate amount of time using my computer. People are too quick to chalk up video games and technology as the evil of our day. They said the same thing about rock’n’roll, and that turned out to be harmless (mostly). Can’t we learn from our mistakes, even a little, and embrace the future, while simultaneously treasuring the past? This is the meaning of humanity. As I said about two years ago,
    “Let us hope for the future, live in the present, and learn from the past. Without these things, we can never be truly human. For this, friends, is the meaning of life.”

  32. I being 17 myself agree with the author to a certain extent. I agree that video games and t.v. have given me “a foggy brain” and I can never seem to concentrate and am completely horribly at remembering things. However, I am able to get good marks in school and get my work done more efficiently using the internet and technological resources. I think that a balance is needed, something which I think I have been doing because I do read and play sports as well, but I never actually challenge myself with reading a book that I don’t already know is going to be good or a book about history or art and etc. I think I will start challenging myself now, and see how it impacts me. To the author, great article.

    • I agree ‘great article’ and you are a good part of the reason why! I am so pleased at 17 years of age you have become aware of ‘balance’ – I always advocate ‘middle of the road’ for so many reasons – as a adults we encourage children to experience all they can, with balance – good for you – and all the success with all you tackle!

  33. I think that this is cool : )
    and I do believe that we are getting smarter from technology because it’s opening our minds to new idea’sand things to come.
    If we didn’t have all this technology, then how would we be as smart as we are right now?
    so i do think that technology is making us smarter by each time something new comes out.
    That’s why I think that this is cool : )

  34. i think steubee is wasting his class time and this article is stupid :)
    we shouldn’t write an essay that is so boring :(

    oh well.. life goes on !

  35. I most certainly agree that today’s technology is highly influencing our youth, in a positive and negative way.
    The influence of television and video games has highly alter a childs perception of reality and fantasy. The games and show children are viewing are giving the child; who is still developing their brains, the idea that they can simply kill or hurt another human being, or even get hurt themselves and simply walk away.
    It also seems that reading and writing have become obsolete to typing and surfing the web for videos that explain the “true” answer to the questions that al youths ask.
    Although i do believe that today’s technology is highly influencing our youth in a negative way, some of the influences are prositive and educationaly productive. Children and adolesence are able to research projects over the internet instead of spending hours in the library trying to find a single quote or fact. Also the programs played on the discovery channel, showing the wild life in the Artic, Africe etc are highly educational and can broden a students mind to marine and wild life outside of their community. Programs like Mind Busters can exhibit the reality of a situation, for example it shows children the real effects of mentos and coke or any other “reality stretching” facts they head from their friends or other sources.
    So the question really is, can technology influence our youths’ mind for better or worse?

  36. Even though video games may seem to cause some problems it actually can help stimulate some thought process because sometimes video games present challenges and puzzles that you have to use strategies to solve the problems and some game systems provide online gameplay that not only allows you to interact with other people but puts you on the spot and challenged by other people that can help in real life situations where you have to think fast and solve problems

  37. In today’s society especially among us teenagers it is true that we are exposed to technology a lot. We multitask frequently to get things done faster. Our answer to everything is Google. We type in our topic and with one click of a mouse it’s all there for us. I do believe that we use our brains less in order to find the information we need to complete certain tasks in our everyday lives but I do not always find things easier. I still find school work challenging and feel that my computer is not always the answer. Technology presents us with answers and easy options which are positive things. We may be living in a generation that will be granted new opportunities and have amazing experiences from the information at our fingertips but will it truly benefit us in the end? Will we feel energetic and intelligent? I think that we are becoming too dependant upon our devices perhaps even addicted to what they have to offer us. We feel we need these things but when we use them they leave us tired, depressed, and unable to think properly in order to make good choices. We seem to only see the positive aspects of the technology today when really it is eating away our intelligence. However, it is too late now. The whole world has been introduced to new technology and will continue to be every time something new appears. We are told we will be the smartest yet all the brain activity will cause us to no longer feel or think for ourselves. Soon the computer will become smarter than the average person. How will we know when it’s time to stop making these advances? When will we realize its not beneficial to our lives anymore?

  38. As I read this article I determined that some things may be true for some people, but technology is not making our entire generation dumber. One particular quote sort of bugged me, it said, “It’s only when your memory is engaged in the learning process that your brain is really challenged”
    This does not mean that technology is making it harder for us to tackle challenges. In video games, you try to beat the game one level at a time. When you have beaten a really hard level you feel that you have succeded, and the next is even more of a challenge. We do strive to do our best in our games, but that does not mean we will not do the same in our daily lives away from the screen. I myself know for sure, with school work, i may do bad on one math test, but i try even harder for the next one because i want to succeed. I feel that it is because of my playing games and feeling the stress of losing that hard level over and over that i try so hard to do better and better with my school work. No-matter what my mark may be, i do try to do better for each assignment.

    I do not sit myself infront of games 24/7, i also go out with freinds, and read a lot of books. I feel that i am a very smart individual. This article is pretty much saying that i am stupid, because i play games and i sit on my computer and use google to help me find my answers, whatever they may be. It is called the World Wide Web for a reason, it helps the entire world to communicate its information, making it easier to obtain certian things with more ease. Why should we critisize such a useful piece of technology. Television is technology too, but i don’t see you critisizing it for telling us that we will be hit by a hurricaine, or perhaps telling us that somebody has killed the leader of our country. Other sources like the internet help us know the same stuff, so what is to bad about it?

    A lot of things that happen in our societies have their advantages and their disadvantages, and with the advantages we get more sophisticated. Through the years each generation learns new things, and technology is one of the things that will help us. Some people will abuse it, i am not denying that, but what i am saying is give it some cutos.. just because not EVERYBODY uses it the way they should, doesnt mean that it should be looked down on.

  39. My 14 year old son played Xbox yesterday while watching 48 Hours, listening to the radio with his cell phone ready for text messaging. Kids today, back when I was his age I would just be watching TV. Brain scans prove nothing but the fascination of the medical profession with new toys.

    • You're full of it. Stop showing off

  40. Our whole society, the whole ‘developed’ world, has become a big uncontrolled experiment. We adopt new technologies uncritically, without considering the traps or pitfalls. Cars are another example. Despite climate change, oil wars and commuter hell, we continue to drive way more than we need to. Addicted, we are blind to the alternatives. I wonder whether our love affair with the digital world is leading us down an even worse path, with irreversible outcomes. It’s irresponsible.

    • Whatchu talkin bout Willis?

  41. Just notice one thing: A lot of these people need to work on their spelling. I’m 14, younger than most of the people here, and I speak two languages fluently. I spend great lengths of time debating politics, economics, and world issues with my parents and teachers. I know a great deal about a large variety of topics (including computers, I might add), and yet I still spend approximately 50 hours a week playing computer games. Shouldn’t I be, by the author’s example, a drooling idiot? The influence of technology has nothing to do with the way it is used, it is simply in the nature of the person using it. My parents taught me from a young age to love books and learning, and that carries on in me to this day. I am always seeking out new books to read and new information to absorb (which is kind of the reason that I found this article in the first place), simply because I love doing it. Teach your children to love learning and reading, and the rest will come naturally. The problem isn’t technology, after all, but parenting. Parents are willing to use computers and televisions as babysitters (and don’t even get me started about preschool), but children of such a tender age need to be out and experiencing the world. I never went to preschool, and yet I know more and do better in school that many people who did. What does that say? I was denied the so-called “advantages” of modern parenting (AKA helicopter parenting), and yet I’m more well-adjusted and knowledgeable than those who experienced such a thing. Why this parenting style is called “modern” is beyond me, when it really deserves to be relegated to the same history books as dinosaurs and the dodo.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

    • You're not 14 you loser, get a life.

  42. I find none of this persuasive. The generalizations about ‘this generation’ are so tiresome and small minded. I’m 44 years old and learned most of what I learned by working hard. I find technology enables me to learn so much. Information is so readily available. It’s not like people used to spend hours at the libraray researching anything that interested them. They just didn’t know and deferred to ‘experts’.

    Technology opens new avenues for learning. I see this as a good thing.

    • I am 54 and have been involved with computers since 1971. I did spend a lot of time in libraries researching topics in libraries. Life has changed much over the last 40 years but what young people do not have any more is a frame of reference or rigorous standards. The scientific method was destroyed by the soft social sciences in the 1970's and 80's. Ethics have been evicerated from our society.

      Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should

  43. Honestly, you two. I don’t know about you, but we have an awesome school. Everyone’s happy, some people fail but most pass, and we don’t have “lowest common denominator” education. In a school of some 2000 students, it’s not really possible. And, yes, while I do agree that many people are completely clueless, I know a lot of adults who are dumber than my classmates (who are in the 15-16 age group). And we play video games, use Facebook, chat on our cell phones, text message each other, and use IM services. Please, please, PLEASE don’t blame technology for the problems caused by the educational system. After all, schools have been receiving less funding recently, and that’s forced them to slash programs. Just come to a high school called John F. Ross CVI in Guelph, Ontario (just 1/2 hour out of Kitchener), and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  44. I am doing an expose of this article and how technology is actually making us smarter and i appreciate all the comments. i am using some of these quotes as sources of information to prove me point. thank you.

    • You just proved the point of the article. Not only did you forget (didn’t know?) to capitalize “I”, you also were grammatically incorrect (or perhaps typed too quickly to notice). The quote “. . . to prove me point.”

  45. yes, I agree. The tech native generation growing up with internet and video games have lost touch with reality. Their reality is tied into the virtual world in a way that is affecting their view of who and what they are. They distinction between what is real and what is merely a computer generated image is blurred.

  46. Pingback: “Liberal MPPs have been accused of sexual harassment in past three years, Ontario premier reveals” Danielle Magazine

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