Just an interesting article about multi-tasking. I think that what needs to happen is for those that are studying this breed of “new” students (the NetGen, the Millenials, whatever) to consider that there are perhaps more than one generation already. There are those that grew up with computers, then there are those that grew up with the rise of Facebook and social networking by the time they were in, say, their middle school years or earlier. I think there is a major difference in how those two groups approach multi-tasking.
I know that the way I look at multi-tasking, and the way I looked at it during college, seems very different from how those I know from the ages of around 20-25 do at the university in general and the law school in particular where I work. And these are upperclass undergrads and graduate students. Think about high school students and those just entering college.
If the NetGen is allowed to extend back to 1977 (end of Gen X and a liberal interpretation of this next generation, which is also often identified as starting in 1982), then the debate about Napster would have come out around age 22-23 or so. Facebook reached my alma mater when I was 26, and the masses at 28.
For those born in 1982, they would have been ages 19, 23, and 25, respectively.
For those born in 1999 (so back to my argument of the 20-25 year olds), we’re now talking about Napster hitting the big scene when they were just 12 years old. Facebook would have reached them at age 17, when their current age restrictions kicked in. I argue that there is a pretty big divide between gaining access to P2P music-sharing all the way to iPods and iTunes when one isn’t even in his or her teens, and then using Facebook before even leaving high school, and those that are at the early reaches of the NetGen.