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But don’t just take my word that this is an important and provocative program. Two other respected Internet safety experts and youth advocates have weighed in with their thoughtful analysis of the show.
Read Anne Collier and Stephen Balkam’s reviews not just to help you decide whether to watch the film but for their own perspectives on the important issues that the film brings to light. Anne Collier’s NetFamilyNews post is titled “PBS Frontline’s ‘Digital Nation’: Presenting our generation with a crucial choice. FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam’ wrote Are We (Virtually) There yet? for the Huffington Post.
Anne picked up on one of the things the show taught us about how children learn by quoting the show’s interview with James Paul Gee who, in Anne’s words, “told of how, in virtual worlds and multiplayer games, young people function in teams in which “everybody is an expert in something but they know how to integrate their expertise with everybody else’s; they know how to understand the other person’s expertise so they can pull off an action together in a complicated world’”?
Balkam notes that “the real battle grounds fought over in this film include the future of education and how we raise our kids. The recent Kaiser Family Foundation research found that kids were consuming 7.5 hours of media per day. Add in multi-tasking — texting while watching TV while listening to music, for instance, and the figure reaches an amazing 11 hours.” My own analysis of the Kaiser study is here.
On a related topic, also see Are you an Internet Optimist or Pessimist? The Great Debate over Technology’s impact on Society by Adam Thierer. Thierer does an excellent job summarizing how different people view the social and technology changes over past three decades concluding “On balance, I believe the optimists generally have the better of the argument today. But pessimists make many fair points that deserve to be taken seriously; they just need a more reasonable articulation of (some of) those concerns.”