An article in the Irish Examiner has brought attention to Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s 2013 book The App Generation.
Reporter Emer Sexton has witnessed first-hand as a parent the constant lure of digital devices that seem to hinder intimate relationships, identity formation, and imaginativeness/creativity amongst users, especially young users. Focusing on the distinction between app-enabling and app-dependent use of technology, Sexton outlines the argument of The App Generation concisely, at one point offering the following powerful example:
Apps reduce periods of quiet reflection and creative daydreaming, and eliminate boredom, “which has long been a powerful stimulator of the imagination”.
But the inspiration for the Harry Potter series came to JK Rowling on a four-hour-long train journey, at the end of which the young magician’s life was almost completely mapped out.
How different the landscape of children’s literature would be, today, if she had been engrossed in mobile apps, instead of merely daydreaming?
The article concludes by questioning how youth from disadvantaged backgrounds may be affected by digital media, which may be more difficult to access for them than for the middle to upper class subjects of The App Generation, but also highlights Gardner and Davis’s recommendation that a digital curriculum should be put into place in classrooms to educate students about the ethical dimensions of using these relatively new platforms and technologies.