I ask a teenage girl, how often do you text? “250 times a day, or something,” she tells me. Shocking! The digital lives of teenagers have become the target of weekly attacks. In a recent essay for the Guardian, the novelist Jonathan Franzen bemoaned online socialising, arguing that it was creating a uniquely shallow and trivial culture, making kids unable to socialise face to face. Then the American comedian Louis CK proclaimed on TV that he wouldn’t give his daughters cellphones for fear they wouldn’t develop empathy. There’s also the scientist and writer Susan Greenfield’s famously apocalyptic warnings: “We could be raising a hedonistic generation who live only in the thrill of the computer-generated moment and are in distinct danger of detaching themselves from what the rest of us would consider the real world.” As a parent of two boys at primary school, I’m not immune to worry about these issues. And you don’t need to be a parent to fret about the effect of all this technology on young people. Newspapers are constantly filled with frightening accounts of pornography addiction and aggression supposedly caused by violent videogames – particularly now, as Grand Theft Auto V hits the shelves. But even when these… Read full this story
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