The Smartphone Generation Needs Computer Help
Young people may be expert social-media and smartphone users, but many lack the digital skills they need for today’s jobs. How can we set them up for success?
Kenneth Cole’s classroom at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, located on a quiet residential street in Madison, Wisconsin.
The classes Cole teaches use Grow with Google’s Applied Digital Skills online curriculum.
One day he may lead Club members in a lesson on building digital resumes that can be customized quickly and make job-seeking easier when applying online. Another day they may create a blog. On this particular day, they drew up a budget for an upcoming event using a spreadsheet. For kids who are often glued to their smartphones, these types of digital tasks, surprisingly, can be new experiences.
The vast majority of young Americans have access to a smartphone, and nearly half say they are online “almost constantly.”
But although smartphones can be powerful learning tools when applied productively, these reports of hyperconnectivity and technological proficiency mask a deeper paucity of digital skills. This often-overlooked phenomenon is limiting some young people’s ability—particularly those in rural and low-income communities—to succeed in school and the workplace, where digital skills are increasingly required to collaborate effectively and complete everyday tasks.
According to a survey by Pew Research Center, only 17 percent of Americans are “digitally ready”—that is, confident using digital tools for learning. Meanwhile, in a separate study, American millennials ranked last among a group of their international peers when it came to “problem-solving in technology-rich environments,” such as sending and saving digital information
teach his sophomore pupils the technology skills they need in the workplace, as well as soft skills like teamwork.
more on digitally native in this IMS blog
more on millennials in this IMS blog
Nov 21, 2017, Claire McInerny
We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can’t these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on kids and technology, says rather than considering the age of a child, focus on maturity. Some questions to consider are:
- Are they responsible with their belongings?
- Will they follow rules around phone use?
- Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?
- And do kids need to be in touch for safety reasons? If so, will an old-fashioned flip phone (like the one Sydney never charged) do the trick?
While Pew Research from 2015 puts adult smartphone ownership in the U.S. at 72 percent, there’s some debate about smartphone ownership among children. The average age for a child to get their first smartphone is currently 10.3 years according to the recent Influence Central report, Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives.
An average of 65 percent of children aged between 8 and 11 have their own smartphone in the U.K. according to a survey by Internet Matters. That survey also found that the majority of parents would like a minimum age for smartphone ownership in the U.K. to be set at age 10.
However, some kids are using smartphones from a very young age. One study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that focused on children in an urban, low-income, minority community suggested that almost all children (96.6 percent) use mobile devices and that 75 percent have their own mobile device by the age of four.
Lauricella, A., Wartella, E., & Rideout, V. (2015). Young children’s screen time: The complex role of parent and child factors. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 11–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2014.12.001
Wood, E., Petkovski, M., De Pasquale, D., Gottardo, A., Evans, M., & Savage, R. (2016). Parent Scaffolding of Young Children When Engaged with Mobile Technology. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10024286/1/Wood_Parent_Scaffolding_Young_Children.pdf
Rikuya Hosokawa, & Toshiki Katsura. (2018). Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age. PLoS ONE, 13(7), e0199959. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199959
Percentage of moms whose children used device by age 2.(THE DATA PAGE)(Statistical data). (2011). Editor & Publisher, 144(10).
PERCENTAGE OF MOMS WHOSE CHILDREN USED DEVICE BY AGE 2
Gen Y moms Gen X moms
Laptop 34% 29%
Cell Phone 34% 26%
Smart Phone 33% 20%
Digital Camera 30% 18%
iPod 34% 13%
Videogame System 13% 8%
Hand-held gaming device 13% 10%
Source: Frank N. Magid & Associates, Inc./Metacafe
more about the use of mobile devices in the classroom in this IMS blog entry
Under Employers’ Gaze, Gen Z Is Biting Its Tongue On Social Media
April 13, 20195:00 AM ET
The oldest members of Generation Z are around 22 years old — now entering the workforce and adjusting their social media accordingly. They are holding back from posting political opinions and personal information in favor of posting about professional accomplishments.
only about 1 in 10 teenagers say they share personal, religious or political beliefs on social media, according to a recent survey from Pew Research Center.
70 percent of employers and recruiters say they check social media during the hiring process, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder
Generation Z, nicknamed “iGen,” is the post-millennial generation responsible for ‘killing’ Facebook and for the rise of TikTok.
Curricula like Common Sense Education’s digital citizenship program are working to educate the younger generation on how to use social media, something the older generations were never taught.
Some users are regularly cleaning up — “re-curating” — their online profiles. Cleanup apps, like TweetDelete,
Gen Zers also use social media in more ephemeral ways than older generations — Snapchat stories that disappear after 24 hours, or Instagram posts that they archive a couple of months later.
Gen Zers already use a multitude of strategies to make sure their online presence is visible only to who they want: They set their account to private, change their profile name or handle, even make completely separate “fake” accounts.
more on social media in this IMS blog