The author’s presentation of the material is somewhat gloomy in nature, moreso I think than is warranted. Technology and technological developments are a strong component of who we are as a species, and the computer and the internet is, after all, just another invention, though a monumentally important one. However, the author is correct in his assertion that the internet (social networking in particular) is changing the way in which we interact with one another, and not necessarily for the better. The internet is a dangerous place, especially for youngsters and the technologically illiterate; trolls are just the surface of the real threat.
As social studies educators, discussing the implications of the changes brought on by internet and social networking on our daily lives has intense relevance in the lives of our students. Kids today have grown up with social networking, essentially hard-wired into it, where in my high school days it was merely a new toy to fool around with, and for older generations, a strange new thing without much utility at all. Kids need to be asking themselves how their lives would change without it, just as we all should be thinking about what life would be like without the things we consider ‘essential.’
Beth, Alanna, and Becky raised the question of whether or not technology has a negative effect on students’ creativity, critical thinking skills, etc. I submit that, overall, it does not. Technology actually allows students to be more expressive and creative by giving them tools (iMovie, HTML, and what have you) that they would not have had before. It also gives the less ‘traditionally’ artistic kids a way to create great works of art (people like me, who can’t draw, paint, sculpt, or sing.) However, technology can also make kids lazy – why do original research, for example, when someone else has already done it for you and posted it on a university website or Wikipedia or something? I think that’s the greatest danger aside from exposing them to actual physical or emotional harm.