Claims about the effect of the Internet on the recent generation range across the spectrum from The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future to a more positive portrayal in Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World.1 The debate centers on changes in the brains and minds of those growing up in the digital world. I am using the terms “brain” and “mind” to distinguish between the brain as an organism and the mind as the product of the intersection of the brain with culture and environment. For example, I will discuss claims that multitasking on a computer changes the brain, making it more difficult to concentrate, and that the minds of ICT users see and know the world differently than nonusers. As I will discuss, most writers seem to agree that the brain changes with the use of ICT and ICT affects the mind or how people think. For some these changes are positive, for others they are negative. All parties to this debate agree that the generation growing up-the date varies

depending on the writer-since the late 1970s are major users and consumers of ICT. As noted previously in this book, the evolution of new technologies depends on a willing consumer market. Are youth a targeted market for new ICT products, games, social networking, and smart phones? Is there a digital divide between generations? What is the effect of these new consumer products on users’ brains and minds? Underlying this discussion is ageism. Youth are portrayed as speeding ahead of

the previous generation in technological usage. In 2001, Marc Prensky sparked an ongoing debate with his claim of a major difference between what he called “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.”2 The debate continued into 2011 with a publication devoted to an analysis of his generational divide titled, Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young People, Technology and the New Literacies.3 But does this divide actually exist? Are all members of the so-called digital generation the same in their usage of ICT? Is the older generation significantly different in their usage of ICT?