Blog: 17 “Digital Nation”


FRONT LINE: Digital Nation

This episode on FRONT LINE is a follow up of Growing Up Online, broadcasted 2007.  Digital Nation hit many key points, as did Growing Up Online, so in today’s blog I’m only going to commit about a few topics that caught my interests.

Stanford has been doing research about how we multitask by using brain-imaging scans. Results have proves that multitaskers are poor at every task they do, they are unable to think clearly which means that every task they working on while ‘multitasking’ is not getting 100% of the person’s attention meaning that the task, when completed, is poor, ‘half-ass,’ terrible.

Another study was done with students; children spend about 50 hours a week with digital media. This is causing an effect, which shows children’s brain activity is small, small = better?!?!?! It seems that children and long-term use of digital media is a good thing when it comes to looking at a brain activity scan. Their activity level quality is better than a child that doesn’t use digital media.

In Asia there is digital revolution taking place. In South Korea they are called Internet cafe; a place where there are multiple computers connected to the Internet, a computer’s main used in this kind of setting is for online gaming.

South Korea - Internet Cafe

A 15-year-old boy was interviewed for this segment. His mother believes he as an addition to the Internet, it as been diagnosed as a psychiatric disorder. His grades were dropping because of his excessive gaming. His mother said he is unable to communicate with her because he is so invested in his games, he doesn’t even sit at the table to eat dinner with her. There are free rescue camps, where this 15-year-old boy is sent, to treat physical damage that is caused by excessive gaming (like eye strain, and hearing problems).  The camp gives children no access to a computer or the Internet, so in they’re ‘free-time’ children are to play outside, this is suppose to help them “connect with their childhood”

In American schools, children (as young as 2nd graders) are taught to go online with “healthy Internet Habits.” They are taught Ethics, Etiquette, and Manners while online, these studies will branch forward to teaching children about the technical aspects of the Internet. One teachers said, “education [has changed, and now] has a different purpose…technology is like oxygen.”

The last topic I wanted to touch on is how media is being used to help our military vets recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Studies (in the VHI Lab) have concluded that the human brain cannot differentiate from the real or virtual world(s). This information has been transformed into a therapy for military veterans. As part of their therapy they emerge themselves into a virtual world, in combat, where gun shots and bombs and other dangers seem like a real threat, but because it’s a virtual world the user suffering from PTSD has control of the situation and knows that he/she can not be physical harmed in this world. PTSD suffers can learn how to control their flashbacks, and cope with the stress, that will hopefully allow them to recover.

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