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    New York Times: Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

    The New York Times has an interesting article about how children’s worldviews, including their ideas about privacy, can be shaped by technology.

    My daughter’s worldview and life will be shaped in very deliberate ways by technologies like the Kindle and the new magical high-tech gadgets coming out this year — Google’s Nexus One phone and Apple’s impending tablet among them. She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.

    But these are also technology tools that children even 10 years older did not grow up with, and I’ve begun to think that my daughter’s generation will also be utterly unlike those that preceded it.

    Researchers are exploring this notion too. They theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.

    “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. […]

    Children my daughter’s age are also more likely to have some relaxed notions about privacy. The idea of a phone or any other device that is persistently aware of its location and screams out its geographic coordinates, even if only to friends, might seem spooky to older age groups.

    But the newest batch of Internet users and cellphone owners will find these geo-intelligent tools to be entirely second nature, and may even come to expect all software and hardware to operate in this way.

    Here is where corporations can start licking their chops. My daughter and her peers will never be “off the grid.” And they may come to expect that stores will emanate discounts as they walk by them, and that friends can be tracked down anywhere.

    “If it’s something you grow up with, you have a completely different comfort with it than someone who has had to unlearn something about the world,” said Mr. Rainie, of the Pew project.

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