All kids born in 2012 will have dual citizenship; one, or several will be connected to their parents and where they were born, and one will be in the Networked Society.
Kids today are growing up in a digital world with access to devices 24/7. They are using many of these devices, such as tablet computers, three to four years before they even know how to read or write. Responsible use of devices and applications is not intuitive, and an early challenge for parents is to educate kids on what is good and what is bad device usage. This is sometimes tough because as a parent, you are likely to be behind in understanding your kids’ devices and their applications.
In a world where anyone can publish anything, being able to judge information critically is a vital skill needed from an early age. Kids need to know what editing tools can do to pictures and videos, and how easy it is to tweak reality. In addition, texts become more and more subjective the larger the base of writers and the closer the topic is to someone’s heart. Perhaps it was simpler in a world where the bulk of text and pictures in books had to go through some kind of editorial and approval process before they were deemed true.
However, one of the positive things about the emergence of the Networked Society is the opening up of cultural borders. As kids develop worldwide relationships earlier in life, they discover a deeper understanding of different cultures. What baby boomers learned through many years of international travel can now be quickly learned by our children just by living in the Networked Society. One thing that needs to be ensured is people’s manners; politeness is the ingredient to all successful digital communication in the Networked Society.
In my generation, professional skill sets were developed around key knowledge areas and hard work. The skill sets of our kids will be very different, and to a larger extent will be based on their ability to create, contribute and collaborate with others. The rules and guidelines for such work are more complex and less intuitive.
I predict that some of the demands on the children born with a Networked Society citizenship will be that:
* Their global Networked Society citizenship will expose them to a broader range of cultures very early in life.
* Their ability to critically judge information, and to do so quickly, will be vital to thrive in an information-centric society.
* They could be dependent on 50-100 devices in a household and that “device illiteracy” could put them at a significant disadvantage in the Networked Society.
* The analog world still has a lot to offer, and Networked Society citizenship should come on top of the analog world and cultures.