Reactions to Don Tapscott’s “Net-Generation”

Lim Guohao

Don Tapscott uses a positive tone to introduce his concept of the “Net-Generation”. It focuses on how young individuals of this generation (also known as the Net Geners) are highly adept in their use of the Internet and digital media.

The extensive usage of the online interactive medium by these Net Geners has caused an unprecedented difference in how they work, research and play, as compared to the older generations. Unlike the older generation who are more accustomed to the traditional way of receiving information passively, Net Geners tend to respond actively to the myriad of information from social websites such as Facebook, GoogleTalk and Skype.

These online practices not only changes the way Net Geners absorb information, but also cultivates a “multi-tasking” phenomenon, by which they are able to absorb and to respond to the information concurrently.

Furthermore, the way Net Geners conduct their research has also evolved rather drastically. Tapscott observed that Net Geners are able to extract relevant information from various online sources effectively through constructive Google web searches. This new method for research helps them save time, especially since it reduces the hassle of having to read through the entire content of a book.

Tapscott also believed that through all these online practices and multi-tasking abilities, Net Geners have gained the upper hand at enhancing their ability in dividing their attention for various purposes at one time, making them the smarter generation as compared to the older generation.

I agree to Tapscott’s viewpoint on how Net Geners have changed the way they work and learn, as compared to people from the older generations. As digital natives ourselves, we have also realized that we are constantly providing content for the Internet in the process of communicating with friends, expressing ourselves or sharing photos with our peers through social networks like Facebook, Blogger and MySpace, intentionally or unintentionally.

A recent study conducted with 400 American teenagers (aged between 13 to 19 years old), with regards to their online activities, has also shown that more than half of the participants are active Internet content providers, and majority of them are even providing content in fields that they are unfamiliar with.

Thus, it is our concern that such online practices may only bring about a higher level of unreliable information, since content that is posted on the Internet does not go through much vetting or checks.

Net Geners also have become reliant to online tools like Google, such that they have forgone the need of going to the library to search for reference books so as to cross-examine the reliability of the materials that they have researched for online.