The point is that, when we worry about what attentional capacities we lose with new media, we often compare those capacities to some fantasy of undivided attention at its best: typically, the alternative paradigm is the solitary, uninterrupted book reader. Really? I remember as a child hearing that the average American read only one book a year. I’m not sure that figure has budged much in either direction. So what we are really saying is that we’re worried that some aspects of the culture our children have inherited may not benefit them as some aspects of the culture we (at any age) were rasied with–even if, as adults, we do not benefit from that cultural legacy. The adult video game player of 2011 was probably the adult couch potato of 1991 . . . not the adult reader of War and Peace.
Published in Digital Humanities