By Don Tapscott
This book is the 10-year follow up to Tapscott’s Growing Up Digital, in which he examined the generation who grew up with the Internet and the attendant gadgets and devices that defined their lives while confusing and angering many older people. As an adjunct professor, I have witnessed the emergence of this new, technically savvy generation—the Net Generation. Now, they are coming of age in a new world and with different ideas about how society should be run.
Whether we are teachers, business professionals, politicians, or parents, this book is for us. Tapscott devotes a chapter to each segment of the population that interfaces with this now “grown up” generation, whose ages range from about 11 to 33. For example, Tapscott tackles the bane of all teachers—texting in class; and the bane of parents—gaming. He also explains why Barack Obama was able to rally a new generation of voters to help elect him to office.
Chapter five, for teachers, is about engaging, not being the “sage on the stage.” Today’s students don’t want lectures; they want to participate, the author writes. Chapter six talks to business people about the impact of the Net Generation in the workplace. Such young individuals appreciate experience but also want to help guide businesses, and in some cases, this is not unrealistic. Chapter seven discusses the “Prosumers”—the Net Generation as proactive and progressive consumers who do not naively believe advertisements and who have the capability to verify claims companies make about their products. Recent advertisements for Microsoft’s Windows 7 product illustrate how some businesses are leveraging this collaborative bent.
Overall, Tapscott believes that technology has wrought a good generation. I agree—this technically savvy generation is great. But whether or not we agree, we need to understand how they are changing our world. Grown Up Digital should get—and keep—our attention.