Friday, March 06, 2009

Technology and the Generation Gap

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

"Technology is fast becoming the latest driving force behind what is often called the 'generation gap,'" reports The Barna Group in its latest update. "Technology is shaping different experiences and expectations among generations."

While all generations benefit from the advances in technology, Barna found that "each successive generation is adopting and using technology at a significantly greater pace than their predecessors." The reliance on digital tools is exponentially greater among those under age 25. Another characteristic of the younger generations is what Barna calls "gadget lust" — 22 percent say they consider owning the latest technology to be a very high priority in life, compared to 9 percent of those over the age of 25.

Some of the conclusions the researchers made include:

  • Every age segment is becoming dependent on the Internet.
  • The nation's youngest adults (called Mosaics) are light-years ahead in their personal integration of these technologies.
  • All Americans are increasingly dependent on new digital technologies to acquire entertainment, products, content, information and stimulation.
  • Churches have to work hard to keep pace with the way people access and use content, while also instructing churchgoers on the potency of electronic tools and techniques. Only a minority of churchgoing Mosaics and Busters are accessing their congregation's podcasts and Web sites.
  • Many of the same age-old questions about human development and human flourishing are taking on a new dimension. How does technology help or hinder communication and relationships between generations? How does it impact social skills, reading skills, writing skills, etc.? How will it affect tomorrow's workforce? [Barna]

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