The Young and the Digital is part of a group of books reviewed by Harvard’s Stephen Burt in the London Review of Books. Here’s an excerpt from what is an interesting piece:
In his surveys and interviews Watkins asks how ‘the first generation of American teens to grow up with … the internet literally at their fingertips’ differs from the ones that went before, though it seems his real concern is with what happens when people of whatever age conduct their social lives online. Much of his research attacks the familiar claim that heavy internet use makes people more isolated. John Freeman’s polemic The Tyranny of Email cites a study that purports to show how ‘people burned up two hours a day on the internet’ that ‘they would normally spend with family and friends,’ but Watkins finds that young people’s internet use just replaces hours spent watching TV: they have been trading one screen for another. Australian researchers claim that MySpace users who ‘started blogging reported feeling less isolated and more part of a community’; even those who didn’t blog somehow felt ‘happier’ after being on MySpace for a few months.
You can read the entire piece here.
Follow The Young and the Digital on Twitter @ scraigwatkins.