Middle school kids today have grown up with the Internet and many find it funny that it hasn’t always been that way. A child born in 2002 would be 12 this year, and much of our technology applications were created during their childhood years.
Facebook–1994 YouTube–2005 Twitter–2006
Google was only 4 years old in 2002, but the World Wide Web was already 12 in 2002 (Its birth credited to Tim Berners-Lee in 1990). I was recently helping a class of sixth graders with their technology project and many of their beefs about the Internet mimic those much older in years. Here are the top three:
- “It takes me 2 hours to do 30 minutes of homework.” Okay, this is more about our inability to stay on course when doing a search and the overload of information. Who can’t resist watching a video or clicking on links that have nothing to do with your present search? Much like a library, students need to be taught how to find what they need and head to checkout.
- “Slide shows are irritating.” You and I have both been there. You click on the top 12 reasons why the weather is changing or any link of this type. What you get is a single page that has to be reloaded 12 times. Some allow you to show the information in list form but they’re few and far between. It’s all about making sure you see the ads.
- “We get blocked.” Filtering software is a fact of life in many schools. The Internet is like a huge global city. You wouldn’t turn a child loose in a metropolis without supervision, and the Internet is no different. Sorry.
Most kids I talk to don’t have their own tablet at home, though they often have access to one at school. One pleasant thing for me is they still like holding a book and turning the pages. The digital growth in book sales is only beginning to infiltrate this age group, and I don’t believe we’ll ever lose the printed book for this age group.
Speaking of kids and middle grade books… Do you have a contemporary middle grade story? You might consider entering it into Writer’s Digest and Guide to Literary Agents 14th free contest. Click on the logo for details. The deadline is March 18th.