Parents know that the net generation is coming soon to an office near you

Earlier this year, one of my clients shared a personal story with me. It relates to both parents and employers of the future, and is a great story for this holiday weekend.

Arthur Goldberg is one of the founders of Correlation Risk Partners in London – a very innovative insurance mediator. Here is what he said:

I just watched something which has absolutely blown me away as to where businesses will need to be in 5 to 10 years time to interact with the consumers of tomorrow.

My 5 year old just took a picture on a new iTouch of my 3 year old. My 3 year old was using my iPod which does not have a camera. My 5 year old then “bumped” the picture he took onto the iPod that my 3 year old was using. My 3 year old then retrieved this picture and started editing it into a fatter image (it’s apparently fun to do this) using some app on the iTouch which they had both downloaded independently of me. They did all this while I was watching TV next to them with no input from me.

It sounds quite boring actually, but this was an interaction between a 3 year old and a 5 year old who seemed oblivious to the complicated feat they had just achieved, i.e they took a picture, blue toothed it over to a second devise and then on that device edited the photo!!! All without any input from an adult.

Can you imagine what they will be able to do when they are 10 years old, never mind old enough to buy personal lines of insurance?

It boggles the mind.

I had a similar experience over Christmas last year. I love holiday times when I can spend more time with my kids – they always allow me to see the world through new eyes.

My brother bought an Xbox Kinect for Christmas. That’s the game that has a video camera on top of the TV, and doesn’t require any controllers at all. To see the kids quickly learning about 3-d spatial interactions and the game controllers was a wonder to behold. I am sure that their spatial awareness will be much higher than mine was, and I wonder what impact that will have on certain types of intelligence.

My daughters are growing up digital, as are Arthur’s children – and probably yours as well. The phrase “growing up digital” is borrowed from Don Tapscott’s 1997 book of the same name (buy it at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or Kalahari.net). I read the book in 1999, the year my eldest daughter was born and it really resonated with me.

Tapscott labelled this group the N-generation: the Net generation. He has spent most of the last decade showing the role that technology plays in how this generation learn, socialise among themselves, and interact with friends and family. He also argued that they were being rewired – possibly even physically as their brains develop different neural pathways. He wrote a follow up book in 2008, “Grown Up Digital: How the Net generation is changing the world” (buy it at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or Kalahari.net) – that one is really worth reading too.

However you look at it, this coming generation is going to change the world. We need to get ready for them, because they’re more than ready for us.

0 thoughts on “Parents know that the net generation is coming soon to an office near you”

  1. Graeme says:

    For similar stories, see this post: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2011/04/born_digital.php

    Bizarrely, this link came through twitter about five minutes after I posted the entry above. Serendipity in action!

  2. Graeme says:

    And here is some fantastic advice for parents in the digital age: http://mashable.com/2011/04/30/social-media-parenting-lessons/

  3. Graeme says:

    If you’d like to read a book I wrote for parents of the wired generation, it’s “Future-Proof Your Child” (authored with Nikki Bush) and is available online here:
    * Amazon.co.uk
    * Amazon.com
    * Kalahari.net – South Africa

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