Happy 4th of July, everyone! For this month’s edition of HG Book Club, I want to introduce a stellar book that was recommended by Professor John Glavin – The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination In a Digital World, by Howard Hardner and Katie Davis.
This is an excellent read for all ages, those who are considered members of the “app generation” and those who interact with these folks, whether professionally, as a parent, or even as an alumni volunteer. This latter group especially, as it sometimes takes a certain level of awareness and empathy when communicating with those “digitally enabled” people. My perception while reading this book is that while age does not restrict whether a person is digitally enabled or not, there are absolutely unique characteristics inherent to youth today that are derived from their early introduction to all things digital. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard in recent years from parents whose toddler children navigate their mobile devices more ably than they do, or even that these kids are making purchases on an iPad’s Amazon app even before being able to read.
I did not choose this book to preach about the dangers of being too reliant on technology, rather so that we can all continue to educate ourselves about how to best help students utilize the technology available to them in the best ways, while still building tried and true “old school” skills that involve in-person interaction and communication. The authors write, With respect to intimacy: Apps can facilitate superficial ties, discourage face-to-face confrontations and interactions, suggest that all human relations can be classified if not predetermined in advance–or they can expose you to a much wider world, provide novel ways of relating to people, while not preventing you from shutting off the devices as warranted–and that puts YOU in charge of the APPS rather than vice versa. The quality of our relationships in this era depends on whether we use our apps to bypass the discomforts of relating to others or as sometimes risky entry points to the forging of sustained, meaningful interactions.
Apt, no? (Pun intended). I hope you all will join me in reading this during the next month. It really is a good beach read, I promise!
As always, I enjoy hearing your feedback and thoughts on the book! Feel free to comment below.