Hands on

Yesterday I was asked to complete a survey of digital use. The survey was intended for professionals and volunteers in a large organization and asked questions about the use and frequency of laptops, tablets and smart phones as well as apps, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in our lives.  The purpose is probably to make plans for future use of these technologies at an organizational level.  The professionals will probably be in mid and late career. My guess is that many of the volunteers will be of a certain age and frequently retired. A similar questionnaire at the national level revealed that most of its readers still prefer print.

Excluded in the questionnaire of course are the young.  So I have been struck by the very young as described in a recent survey:

“These are the results of a study commissioned by Internet security company AVG on how children aged 2-5 interact with technology. 2,200 mothers with Internet access in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were polled.”  You can read more about it here.

(You can also try clicking on the image to read the stats)

This was a study about toddlers.  I have watched my own grandchildren navigate Play Station 3 controllers and journey through the advanced levels of the Lego games with aplomb. If you want quiet in the car on the way to the swimming lessons, hand over the Ipad and the Iphone.  The small boys are actually progressing well in both areas. They are learning to swim well. The younger one is fine in school as long as activities are hands on. Listening to a story several feet away from the teacher and sitting still in a group of wiggly three-to five year-olds is a somewhat different story.

The digital divide is enormous.  As a self styled geeky grandmother, I can keep up in lots of areas – though I’m not entering the Lego gaming world. It was one thing to have to learn a lot of stuff from our children. But there is now a two generational divide that will challenge us all.  For organizations that want to move forward, how do we negotiate such different paths and preferences at the same time?