Many are bemoaning the Millennial Generation’s inability to focus and think deeply.
But what if their Internet induced ADD is actually a good thing and possibly even a catalyst for fulfilling the Great Commission?
“Perry Hewitt, director of digital communications and communications services at Harvard University, says this evolution is positive. “It seems easy to decry the attention span of the young and to mourn the attendant loss of long form content—who will watch Citizen Kane with rapt attention when your Android tells you Rosebud was a sled? On consideration, though, the Internet has brought forward not only education, but thinking. While we still want to cultivate in youth the intellectual rigor to solve problems both quantitatively and qualitatively, we have gotten them out of the business of memorizing facts and rules, and into the business of applying those facts and rules to complex problems. In particular, I have hope for improved collaboration from these new differently ‘wired’ brains, for these teens and young adults are learning in online environments where working together and developing team skills allows them to advance.”
“Technology by 2020 will enable the youth to ignore political limitations, including country borders, and especially ignore time and distance as an inhibitor to communications.” – Pew Internet Findings
You can see the potential through existing tools like Skype.
Take two of my least Tech-savvy friends for example:
One is 33 years old. Not exactly a digital native (he still doesn’t have a facebook account) but he walks into a staff meeting last week on the phone with a STINT’er in China. A free phone call. On his cell. Via Skype. With someone in China.
That wouldn’t have been possible 2 years ago.
A call on a land line (the only possible way) just 15 years ago would have cost $15.
In 1930 a 15 minute international phone call would have cost $1500.
In 2012 it’s free. With video. On a mobile device.
Another friend, who is 62, every week uses Skype to have 10 separate video Bible study appointments with friends in East Asia (with non-Christians and Christians).
If this is how old folks are using technology for the glory of God, imagine the potential for Digital Natives.
I, for one, am excited about the future of Missions led by complex-problem solving, hyper-connected, borderless Millennials.
photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon