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Digital Nation from Frontline News (video recommendation)

A friend told me about this news program from PBS’s Frontline, and I’d say it is a “must watch” for those interested in how technology is affecting our lives, those of kids and teens, and changing society as a whole.
Frontline: Digital Nation
The program covers many fascinating topics such as what technology is doing to our brains, the myth of multitasking, living in virtual worlds, gaming addiction, teaching with technology, and where we may be heading.

I try to stay abreast of technological developments (a moving target), so some of the information was not new to me, but I found it very captivating and enjoyable to watch. The stories are brought to life by seeing the people it affects and how.

Of all the stories, one that was completely new to me was within the segment entitled “Where Are We Headed?” Now, I personally found the story rather disturbing. The U.S. Army closed down several recruiting offices and reopened them as “Army Experience Centers.” These centers are filled with Xbox 360 game consoles that kids 13 and up can walk in and play for free. They can play many types of games, including various first person shooter games, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for free while army recruiters mill about and answer any questions. The recruiters aren’t technically allowed to directly recruit kids under 17, but one can easily see how the army is trying to recruit these teens through the gaming experiences. After all, they would not have invested millions of dollars to create these centers if it didn’t ultimately result in new recruits. There are even life-sized simulators of Humvees and helicopters…versions of which are used to help train actual soldiers…that these kids can play.¬†Politics aside, would you want your 13-year-old playing these types of combat simulations with army recruiters walking around?

There are many topics in this program that I plan to blog about, one of which is the effects that playing violent video games has on players. I did my dissertation research on this topic, so I have lots to say about this controversial topic. Please stay tuned…

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